St. Paul man sentenced for killing girlfriend’s friend during domestic assault

A St. Paul man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatally shooting a friend of his girlfriend on the city’s North End nearly three years ago.

Glenn Lee Burton, 42, admitted to assaulting his girlfriend and then shooting 56-year-old Todd Anthony Gerleman in the face at point-blank range on Dec. 21, 2020. Gerleman, of South St. Paul, died at the scene.

Ramsey County prosecutors charged Burton with second-degree intentional murder and attempted murder. An August plea agreement reduced charges to second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree assault. It also called for the 240-month sentence, which he received last week. Burton will receive credit for just over two years and 10 months he’s already served in custody.

He was civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous in April 2021 and found incompetent to stand trial. He was deemed competent for court proceedings this February.

Todd Gerleman (Courtesy photo)

Gerleman was a former TV sportscaster working as a licensed mortgage banker. Originally from Iowa, he graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in broadcast journalism and worked for 10 years as a sportscaster for three Iowa TV stations, a work biography about him says.

‘Prince Charming’ turned abusive

According to the criminal complaint, a 29-year-old woman told police she’d been dating Burton for about two weeks and he was “Prince Charming” at first, but things changed and he “became very possessive and physically abusive.”

On the night of the shooting, the woman went to her residence with Gerleman, where she was meeting other friends to repair damage that Burton had done. She saw Burton’s car was there and they left.

The woman and Gerleman drove to Burton’s mother’s home on West Larpenteur Avenue, near Rice Street. She asked Burton’s mom to call her son and get him to leave her house, saying she would otherwise have to call the police because he’d already broken into her house two or three times.

The woman was walking up the driveway when she heard Burton pull up. He ran at her, pulled her toward his car, yanked her hair and punched her multiple times.

She said she tried to get away from Burton and back into the driver’s seat of Gerleman’s car, but Burton ripped off her wig and pinned her neck to a doorframe until she had trouble breathing and saw stars.

When she was able to get in the driver’s seat, Burton looked into the car and demanded to know who Gerleman was. Gerleman told Burton he was the woman’s friend, after which Burton shouted at the woman, “(Y)ou ain’t gonna escape me — I own you!” the complaint said.

Glenn Lee Burton (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

She begged Burton to stop and tried to close the car door, but Burton pointed a handgun at her and pulled the trigger. She felt something pass by her face, and then Gerleman screamed he’d been shot and clutched his arm.

She put the car in reverse and stomped on the gas, but Burton went around to the open passenger door, stuck the gun in Gerleman’s face and pulled the trigger.

Her cell phone wasn’t working, so she drove to a nearby gas station on East Larpenteur Avenue, just off Interstate 35E, for help. Officers responded to the Arco station and found her crying hysterically, with blood on her clothing and hands. Paramedics pronounced Gerleman dead.

Police arrested Burton after finding him at a Roseville home in the 1600 block of North Chatsworth Avenue. Officers recovered a handgun from a bedroom.

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