Lino Lakes murder charge: Man serving life for killing toddler in Maplewood said he ‘snapped,’ killed cellmate

A man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s toddler in Maplewood is now charged with the murder of his cellmate, who was a sex offender, at the Lino Lakes prison.

Kyle John Kelbel, 42, told a correctional officer on Oct. 5 that his cellmate was dead and made comments indicating he’d killed him, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday by the Anoka County attorney’s office. Steven Paul Patchen, 63, was pronounced dead.

Kyle John Kelbel (Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Corrections)

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents interviewed Kelbel that afternoon and he said he “just snapped” and killed Patchen, according to the complaint. He said he was annoyed with Patchen “and believed he would ‘maybe beat him up’ at some point.”

The night before, about 10:10 p.m. Oct. 4, Kelbel said he was entering his bunk when he “had words” with Patchen. Kelbel said he should “kick his (expletive)” and Patchen said, “Why don’t you?” the complaint continued.

Patchen made a comment about a young female relative of Kelbel’s, according to Kelbel, and he said that was the point “he snapped.”

He said he grabbed Patchen out of his lower bunk, slammed him on the floor, punched him a couple of times and kicked him. He took a string that was used to hold their cell door open, wrapped it around Patchen’s neck and strangled him, the complaint said. Kelbel said he looked up at the clock and saw it was 10:17 p.m.

Kelbel also said that after Patchen died, he put him in clean clothes, placed him back into his bunk as though he was sleeping and covered him up. He went to sleep.

The next morning, Kelbel called someone and told them what he did; the recording was collected by BCA agents.

“Concerned that guards had not discovered that (Patchen) was dead,” Kelbel alerted an employee, the complaint said.

Kelbel was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 beating death of 2-year-old Kailyn Montgomery, his girlfriend’s daughter, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Patchen was serving a 19½ year sentence after being convicted of three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Anoka County in 2018. He was charged in 2017 with sexually abusing juvenile relatives over an extended period of time.

After Patchen was killed, Kelbel was transferred to the Oak Park Heights prison, the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ highest security facility.

Kelbel is charged with intentional second-degree murder, not premediated, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case in December. An attorney for Kelbel wasn’t listed in the court file as of Monday.

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