ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A 38-year-old man is facing murder charges for a weekend stabbing in St. Paul that marked the first homicide in the capital city this year.
Maurice Angelo McClinton Smith, of St. Paul, is charged with murder and burglary in connection to the Sunday afternoon assault, court documents filed in Ramsey County show. If convicted of the murder charge, he faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
According to a criminal complaint, the stabbing happened at an apartment building on 180 Larpenteur Avenue West, in the North of Maryland neighborhood. Responding officers found an woman in one of the units with a stab wound in her chest. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
On Monday, authorities identified the victim as 48-year-old Tina M. McCombs of St. Paul. According to the medical examiner’s report, she died of two puncture wounds to the chest.
Investigators spoke with the woman’s boyfriend, who witnessed the stabbing. He said he was napping in the living room of his apartment when a man with long, red dreadlocks kicked down the door, walked over to McCombs and stabbed her. McCombs walked to the bedroom and collapsed. After the stabbing, the man fled the building.
Investigators spoke with several witnesses, one who said they saw a man with red dreadlocks kick down the doors of two apartment units. the complaint states. One of the witnesses said she spoke to the man, who said he was “looking for his mom.” Another person said that they saw the man wiping blood off his hands with snow.
Drops of blood led police officers to the south side of the apartment building.
Less than two hours after the stabbing, officers found Smith lying on the rear stoop of a building on 163 Mount Airy Street, roughly three miles south from where the stabbing took place. Smith was shivering with cold and unable to speak. He had what appeared to be dried blood on his clothes, and his description fit the image reported by witnesses.
Emergency crews brought Smith to Regions Hospital, where he was treated for cold exposure. After he was cleared, officers took him to police headquarters, where he spoke with investigators.
During an interview, Smith admitted to killing McCombs, the complaint states. He said that he kicked down the door of another apartment because he couldn’t remember where McCombs was in the building. When asked what he used to kill her, he said, “Serpent talon.”
He and McCombs were friends on Facebook, investigators found. When shown a photo of the victim, Smith said that she was his “momma” and that they met about a month ago. He also called McCombs his “sister” and “cousin.”
McCombs’ boyfriend identified Smith as the killer from a photo lineup. When asked why he killed McCombs, Smith said that it was because she shot a man.
According to prosecutors, Smith has six prior felony convictions, including armed robbery, check forgery and domestic assault.