Defense drops challenge to competency of man charged in Clardy killing

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 11, 2013 - 9:57 PM

Competency challenge withdrawn for the man charged in killing St. Paul’s Brittany Clardy.

 

Alberto Palmer’s lawyer withdrew a challenge Friday that questioned Palmer’s competency to stand trial in the killing of Brittany Clardy. But the attorney is contesting statements taken by police from Palmer that link him to the death of the 18-year-old St. Paul woman.

As Clardy’s parents, grandmother and other relatives listened quietly, Palmer was ordered by Anoka County Judge Daniel O’Fallon to return to court Nov. 13, when statements he made to police after his arrest in March are expected to spur a lengthy discussion.

According to court documents, Palmer told officers on March 6 and 7 that he met Clardy through an online escort ad and that the two had sex at a home in Brooklyn Park and afterward they began to “tussle.” The complaint says Palmer told authorities he struck Clardy on the back of the head with a hammer multiple times, then put her inside her car, drove the vehicle several blocks away and left it. Palmer acknowledged returning to the residence, where he attempted to clean up the blood, according to the documents.

Clardy had been missing since Feb. 11. Her frozen body was found on Feb. 21 in a car at a Columbia Heights impound lot, where the vehicle had been towed eight days earlier from a Brooklyn Park apartment complex.

Sitting next to public defender Shawn Webb, the bespectacled Palmer, his hair in braids, said nothing in court Friday. After the brief hearing, he was returned to Anoka County jail, where he has been since his arrest in March. His bail remains at $2 million.

Alvin and Marquita Clardy, Brittany Clardy’s parents, wore plastic wristbands symbolizing an “awareness against violence.” Alvin Clardy, also wearing a Marine Corps baseball cap outside the courtroom, dabbed his moist eyes and said, “All we can do is wait. It’s tough.”

Palmer also has been identified as the lone suspect in the death of Klaressa Cook, whose body was found in the trunk of a car in a Minneapolis impound lot in May. Cook, 24, had moved from Georgia to the Twin Cities. Her car was towed April 11 from a Rainbow Foods parking lot in Brooklyn Park.

On May 20, impound lot employees detected a foul odor and discovered Cook’s body in the trunk. Authorities have offered no other details concerning her death.

After Cook’s body was discovered, officials took the unusual step of releasing Palmer’s name before the filing of charges; they said they wanted to reassure the public that police didn’t feel there was a risk to broader safety.

Palmer has not yet been charged in Hennepin County. Brooklyn Park Inspector Todd Milburn confirmed this week that a report concerning Cook’s death was filed “a while back.” With Palmer in jail, Hennepin County can continue its investigation and see how the Anoka County case plays out before filing charges.

Palmer is charged with assaulting three women last year in Georgia, where he formerly lived. Authorities say he met them via a website, backpage.com, the same one through which he allegedly met Brittany Clardy.

Alvin Clardy said he has been in contact with one of the alleged Georgia victims, as well as her father.

“It’s hard,” Clardy said. “What do you say?”

 

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

 

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