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A St. Paul man is charged with murder after an unprovoked punch of a victim near a St. Paul light rail platform, resulting serious brain injuries and his removal from life support three days later.

Richard McFee, 43, was found unconscious on a sidewalk near Fifth Street East and Minnesota Street just before 9 p.m. on July 23. Fire medics brought McFee to Regions Hospital where he was placed on life support, but he was pronounced brain dead two days later. McFee was removed from life support on July 26.

Sgt. Mike Ernster said it was unclear what happened to McFee at the time, but investigators reviewed footage near the area that captured the assault. In the video, a suspect identified as 29-year-old Darren J. Duffie approached McFee from behind and hit him once in the head with his fist. Duffie was charged Thursday in Ramsey County District Court with unintentional second-degree murder.

According to charging documents, Duffie fled the scene and threw away a sweatshirt he was wearing during the assault. Police arrested him the next day wearing the same t-shirt he wore when striking McFee. When interviewed by investigators, Duffie denied assaulting the 43-year-old but admitted that he knows him.

Duffie said that McFee stabbed him weeks before the assault, pointing to a wound on his left abdomen, and recently hit a female friend of his. Duffie said that was the reason why he hit McFee from behind, but could not give specific details about when and where McFee allegedly stabbed him.

Duffie is on probation for check forgery last year and a 2021 case where he resisted arrest for a felony warrant. In that case, Duffie stomped on an officers' glasses, spit on their face, ripped hospital equipment from the walls and bit another officer's arm before threatening to kill them.

McFee's death marks the 25th homicide in Saint Paul this year. There were 27 by this time last year.