Twin Cities Man Charged with 2nd-Degree Murder for Deer River Death
A St. Paul man has been charged with murder for a shooting death that happened in Itasca County earlier this month.
Nigel Randel Blackburn, 33, appeared in Itasca County Court today on a charge of 2nd Degree Intentional Murder for the death of a Deer River man.
According to the criminal complaint, on June 13th, a report was made to Itasca County law enforcement regarding a possible dead body in a Deer River residence. Officials made contact with a woman who lived at the residence, who confirmed that a man had been shot there early on June 9th. The woman consented to having her home searched, and authorities found a trail of blood leading to the living room where the victim’s body was found.
In an interview conducted by law enforcement, the woman said that Blackburn had shot and killed her friend in her Deer River home, and that she later drove Blackburn back to a town home in Monticello. She stated that the three were all acquainted, and that both men had an apparent romantic interest in her, where Blackburn had also been in a previous relationship with the woman. She also considered the victim to be a friend.
The statement said that an argument ensued between Blackburn and the victim, where Blackburn fired a handgun at the victim and killed him. A medical examination of the victim indicated he was shot five to six times. The woman then stated she and Blackburn remained inside the house for several hours after the victim’s death, before attempting to wipe away footprints from the scene of the crime and disposing of the victim’s cell phone.
On the day of the murder, Wright County deputies responded to a mental health episode Blackburn was having in a Monticello apartment, where the Deer River woman was present along with Blackburn’s wife. The next day, authorities were again brought to the apartment after a report of Blackburn holding a large kitchen knife and making suicidal statements. Blackburn was later transferred to an emergency room and placed on mental health hold.
Blackburn was later arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. Unconditional bail was set at $2 million while conditional bail was set at $1 million. Blackburn will make his next court appearance on July 12th.