Charge: Man killed girlfriend in downtown St. Paul apartment, later stepped in front of Green Line train

Two minutes after a man told a childhood friend, “My girlfriend is gone — she is dead,” he walked in front of a light-rail train and was struck in St. Paul, according to a criminal charge filed Tuesday.

Kelvin Maurice Perry, 54, has been hospitalized since, and the Ramsey County attorney’s office charged him with the murder of Shaqita M. Thomas, 39.

The property manager of the Press House apartment building in downtown St. Paul responded to a request on Friday to check on Thomas, a resident.

An air mattress concealed Thomas’ body when paramedics entered a bedroom. She was face-down underneath, and had small cuts on her forearms, back and shoulders; fake fingernails on both her hands “were all bent backwards as if she had been scratching at something during a struggle,” according to the criminal complaint.

There were signs of trauma to Thomas’ head, a small amount of blood on the carpet near her head, a small bloodstain on a wall in the bedroom, a broken wine bottle and glass shards near Thomas’ body and on top of the air mattress, and a blood-stained multi-outlet extender near her body. An autopsy determined she’d been asphyxiated.

‘Jealous’ of ex-husband

Investigators spoke to a friend of Thomas who’d been on a FaceTime video call with her last Wednesday about 11:20 a.m. Thomas was crying and “a man repeatedly yelled” at her in the background, according to the complaint. Thomas told her friend he was “mad at me for spending the night at the emergency room” with her ex-husband because of her son’s asthma, the complaint said.

Thomas’ estranged husband, from whom she was separated, said he dropped her off in front of the apartment building on Cedar Street between Fourth and Fifth streets on Wednesday between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Thomas wanted him to leave so there wouldn’t be an altercation between him and her boyfriend.

Thomas’ husband feared for her “well-being because he has heard her boyfriend yelling at her on multiple occasions,” the complaint said. “The boyfriend was jealous of the relationship (Thomas) still had with her husband.” He requested that she be checked on after he hadn’t heard from her in a couple of days.

An investigator also spoke with a woman who Perry had dated. She reported he “is a very violent, jealous person,” the complaint said. She said she’d talked to a relative of Perry’s, who said Perry called people he knew and told them he “choked” Thomas out.

Struck by train

Surveillance video showed Perry left Thomas’ apartment about 12:50 p.m. Wednesday and her key fob wasn’t used to unlock the door again until it was opened for paramedics Friday.

A woman who’s known Perry since they were kids said he called her at 11:13 a.m. Friday and he “was crying and panicking” and told her, “Something is going on,” the complaint said. He asked her to tell his sister he loved her and the call ended.

At 11:15 a.m., Perry walked in front of a Green Line train at University and Western avenues in St. Paul.

He is charged with second-degree intentional murder, not premeditated. An attorney wasn’t listed for Perry in the court file as of Tuesday.

“Perry has a significant arrest history out of Chicago where he is from and has family,” according to the complaint.

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