A man fatally choked his girlfriend in her downtown St. Paul apartment, then walked in front of a light-rail train and was struck, according to murder charges filed this week.
Kelvin M. Perry, 54, of St. Paul, was charged Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the death on Friday of 39-year-old Shaqita M. Thomas at her residence in the Press House Apartments.
Perry received medical attention at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after he was struck by the train as it arrived at the Western Avenue Station. He has since been booked into jail and remains held in lieu of $1 million bail ahead of a court hearing Monday. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
According to the complaint:
Thomas' estranged husband asked police to check on her because he had not heard from her in a couple of days. Emergency responders went to her apartment in the 300 block of Cedar Street and found her body face-down beneath an air mattress.
Her body had cuts in various places and evidence of injuries to her head. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that Thomas died from asphyxia.
A woman whom Perry previously dated told a police investigator that he called people in Chicago and confessed that "he had choked [Thomas] out," the charging document read.
One of the calls went to a woman Perry has known since childhood. She said he told her, "My girlfriend is gone; she is dead," the complaint quoted him as saying. He told the woman he loved her and then asked her "to tell his sister that he loved her," the complaint noted.
The train struck Perry 2 minutes after the call ended. The complaint does not say whether he intentionally walked in front of the train.
A tenant in Thomas' building described Perry to police as a violent man who was not right for Thomas or the other women he dated who lived there. The complaint noted that Perry has an extensive criminal history in Chicago.
Police learned that Thomas told a friend two days earlier that Perry was jealous because he suspected her of sleeping with her estranged husband one night. However, Thomas explained to the friend that she was with her husband at an emergency room because of her son's asthma.