A Ramsey County man has been found not guilty because of mental illness for fatally stabbing and beating his father in their St. Anthony home nearly two years ago.
Rodney B. Christopherson was charged in December 2021 in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the death of Donald A. Christopherson, 88, in the 2400 block of NE. 39th Avenue.
While the complaint did not offer a motive for the killing, family told police that Rodney Christopherson has a history of mental illness.
Judge DeAnne Hilgers ruled earlier this month that Christopherson's defense "established by a preponderance of the evidence that he is not guilty by reason of mental illness."
Hilgers' ruling came following a bench trial and after Christopherson underwent psychiatric evaluations to determine whether he was competent to stand trial.
One psychologist found that Christopherson was suffering from mental illness at the time of the attack on his father and "was laboring under such a defect of reason as not to know the acts constituting the alleged offense were wrong."
A second exam by a different medical professional concluded that "it is more likely than not the defendant does meet the criteria for an insanity plea."
A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday as part of proceedings to determine whether Christopherson, who remains in custody, should be committed to a state hospital as someone who is mentally ill and dangerous.
According to the complaint:
At the request of family, officers were dispatched to the home and located the son face-down on the kitchen floor. He told police he stabbed himself in the chest and had been on the floor for hours.
The officers located Donald Christopherson in a bed, and he was declared dead at the scene. A metal mallet, a butcher knife and a second knife were also found in the home, all of them bloodied.
Another son of Donald Christopherson told police his brother has schizophrenia and "had been living with [their father] for a while," the complaint read. The brother said Rodney Christopherson has attempted suicide twice before, most recently about five years ago.