Tuesday, March 6, 2012

St. Paul, MN: St. Paul man charged with killing girlfriend

A St. Paul man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in the beating death of a woman less than half his size whose battered body was found in his bloodied home over the weekend.

Brent L. Lynch, 26, is accused of killing Carolyn M. Leete, 32, early Saturday in the home in the 800 block of W. Minnehaha Avenue. The criminal complaint said that Lynch and Leete, also of St. Paul, had been dating for two or three years.

Lynch is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in Ramsey County District Court.

State records show that Lynch is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 240 pounds, while Leete weighed about 95 pounds.

“This was particularly brutal crime, one of the worst I’ve seen,” said County Attorney John Choi. While not speaking specifically about this case, Choi said that “when you have a size difference like that ... it’s harder to argue self-defense.”

Lynch’s criminal history includes felony convictions in the Twin Cities for terroristic threats and third-degree assault involving other women.

Leete was a 2002 graduate of St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn., receiving a bachelor’s degree in Art Studio.

Online profiles maintained by Leete outlined her work in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and ceramics. She noted her experience in theater at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, her studies to be a model and screen work as an extra.

She also listed having experience as a nanny and preschool teacher. “Love working with children,” she wrote.

Kelly Hendershot, who lived across a dorm hall from Leete at St. Mary’s, said she and Leete talked about Lynch “when they first met, and she was really excited.”

Leete was “just a great comforting woman,” Hendershot added. “My husband died recently from cancer, and she was a great comfort to me.”

A woman answering the phone Tuesday afternoon at the Leete family’s Merriam Park neighborhood home said “we’re at a loss for words” and declined to say anything.

According to the complaint:

Police, responding to a 911 hang-up call from the home, found the partly clothed victim in an upstairs bedroom bloodied and unresponsive.

A neighbor with medical training had stopped to check on Leete sometime after 6 a.m. Lynch told the neighbor that he had thrown Leete on the bed but she hit her head on the floor. He said she was drunk.
The neighbor performed chest compressions on Leete, but could not give her mouth-to-mouth because of the amount of blood on her face.

Lynch pleaded with people in the home not to call police.

“No, don’t call, don’t call,” he said.

Officers arrested Lynch as he was getting into a taxi outside his home. He fought briefly with officers.
The medical examiner’s office found that Leete had injuries to the back of her head and chin, along with cuts on both lips and fractures to her nasal bones. Police at the scene said Leete’s arms were bruised and her hands had defensive marks and scratches.

The complaint revealed that numerous areas of the home were bloodied, including at the bottom of the stairs near the back door “where there appeared to be a fight,” on stairs leading to the second floor, on a wooden bookcase, on second-floor carpeting in the hall and on the wall about 2 feet from where Leete’s body was found.

Lynch had called his mother, Brenda Lynch, about 3 a.m. that morning, and said Leete got out of their car to check on him and someone stole the vehicle. Brenda Lynch didn’t want to be home when her son returned, so she left.

“Brenda Lynch said when her son [Brandon Lynch] drinks, he gets crazy and it terrifies her,” the complaint said.

At one point soon after his arrest, Lynch hung his head and said, “This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was the alcohol.”

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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