A Brooklyn Park man fatally stabbed the woman who was carrying his unborn son in an attack in her Eagan apartment that also killed the nearly full-term fetus, according to charges filed Thursday.
“This was a violent attack that has resulted in the senseless and tragic deaths of a young woman and her unborn child,” County Attorney James Backstrom said in announcing the second-degree murder charges against 23-year-old Vern J. Mouelle in the deaths of Senicha M. Lessman, 25, and the son she had been carrying for 32 weeks.
Neither police nor prosecutors have revealed a motive for the violence.
Mouelle’s father, Jean, said Thursday that he has no insight into what might have happened and is reserving judgment on whether prosecutors have the right person.
“We personally don’t believe Vern is capable of anything like this,” Jean Mouelle said.
The father said his son has a job at a plasma donation center, goes to school and is a “good, beautiful kid.” He said he did not know Lessman other than that police have told him she and his son “had been dating on and off online.”
According to the charges:
Shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday, Lessman’s mother found her daughter in the bedroom naked, bleeding from the neck and unconscious with a bloody cloth stuffed in her mouth. She called 911.
Responding police and emergency medical personnel tried without success to revive Lessman, whose carotid artery had been severed, and also tried to save her son.
Lessman’s mother told police that Mouelle was the father of the baby, who was within a few weeks of being born.
A neighbor alerted police to an SUV that had been parked in the drive earlier in the day, and authorities determined that it belonged to Mouelle’s mother.
Police tracked Mouelle to his workplace in Mounds View. Inside the SUV, officers found a store receipt for a pocket knife that had been bought earlier that day, Lessman’s cellphone, a bloody trash can and bloody women’s clothing. Police recovered the bloody knife from a dresser in his home.
Lessman and her mother spoke on the phone between 11:30 a.m. and noon Tuesday. The receipt showed that the knife was purchased in Eagan at 12:06 p.m. Tuesday. The SUV Mouelle was driving was parked out front of Lessman’s home from 1:20 to 1:45 p.m.
Less than an hour later, Lessman’s mother arrived to take her daughter to a doctor’s appointment but found her dead.
An autopsy revealed that Lessman died from the stab wound and having her breathing passage obstructed.
Mouelle appeared in court Thursday and remains jailed in lieu of $1.5 million with conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled Feb. 9. Court records do not list an attorney for him.