Man Told Police That It Was 'Totally Unintentional'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 24-year-old St. Paul man is accused of choking and killing a St. Paul woman Sunday morning.

Sammy Devel Henderson faces two charges of second-degree murder, which carry maximum potential sentences of 40 years in prison per charge.

According to police, just after 10 a.m. Sunday, police were called to the 500 block of Minnehaha Avenue East on a report of an unresponsive woman. When they arrived, the woman, identified as 30-year-old Sherell Montrese Craighead, was dead.

Craighead’s 7-year-old son told police that his mother had Henderson over and that they were arguing. He said he woke up to his mother screaming. When he went to investigate, he saw his mother, who told him call an ambulance, but he couldn’t find a phone. When asked what happened next, the boy said “I don’t know.” He said he then went back to bed and when he woke up, he went to his grandmother’s house.

On Monday, Henderson called police and said that he heard police had been looking for him. Police officers later met Henderson at a liquor store and brought him to headquarters where he was interviewed.

In the interview, Henderson said that Craighead they would often drink alcohol, have sex and she would sometimes “act crazy.” On the night of the incident, he said he tried leaving when he believed she was going to “flip out,” but she became upset and she tried pulling him back into the bedroom.

When the interviewing Sergeant told Henderson that he knew thing had gotten physical and that Henderson had put his hands on Craighead’s throat, Henderson said that he’d put his left arm around her neck while they were having sex. But he said he didn’t put any force into it and that she was alive when he left, the complaint said.

Henderson later admitted to laying down Craighead, who was limp, after sex. He said he heard a thump shortly after and thought she rolled off. He then left so he wouldn’t have to stay the night and get into it again with her, the complaint said.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Craighead’s death homicide and determined that her cause of death was asphyxia due to manual strangulation. Her hyoid bone was also fractured from the assault.


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