A 20-year-old man has admitted that he killed his girlfriend with a shotgun blast to the chest in a Brooklyn Park home, bringing a deadly end to the couple's contentious relationship.

Dymond R. Hayden pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in Hennepin County District Court in the April 10 death of Ashantai N. Finch, 32.

Hayden was to have gone on trial Monday, but he now faces what the prosecution expects will be 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 10. He was initially charged with second-degree murder and could have received up to 40 years if convicted of that charge.

Hayden shot Finch and then ran upstairs from the basement and asked Finch's sister and brother-in-law to call 911. Finch and Hayden had been staying in the sister and brother-in-law's home.

According to the court complaint against Hayden, Finch's sister thought the couple had been having "relationship issues for some time."

Hayden ran up the stairs saying "Call 911, call 911." He told her, "The gun went off. We were playing with the gun," according to the complaint.

Afterward, he told police it was Finch's gun that went off, one she had bought for her own safety. He said he heard a gunshot, entered the room and found her on the floor, bleeding from a self-inflicted wound.

When police challenged his story, Hayden said he was handling the gun and it accidentally went off, the complaint said.

The gun was found in some bushes nearby.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482