A ranting man claimed he thought the victim was a witch who could return from the dead.
A delusional man stabbed an acquaintance to death with scissors at a St. Paul group home for mentally ill clients, calling his victim a witch, according to charges filed Friday.
Anthony Jay Haukos, 44, of St. Paul, is charged with intentional second-degree murder in the slaying of Thomas Grover Stein, 61, also of St. Paul.
Police were called to the residence north of the State Capitol, near the intersection of Capitol Heights and Winter Street, about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Stein, who court papers say dresses like and prefers to be known as a woman, had called a mental health practitioner and said that a man known as "Tony" was in his apartment and becoming unruly.
The complaint alleges the gruesome slaying played out this way:
Police responded to the locked apartment building and rang the buzzer, and eventually a resident opened the door. Officers went to apartment No. 2, knocked loudly and announced they were there, but nobody responded.
One of the officers went outside, to the south side of the building, and looked through a window.
He saw what appeared to be a middle-aged woman sprawled on the floor, covered in blood. That victim was later found to be Stein. Directly behind that person was a man lying with his body curled up against the victim in a "spooning" position, caressing the victim with his right hand. That hand held a silver-edged item with a dark-colored handle.
"See, look what you made me do, you made me do this," the suspect was saying, at times calm, and then angry.
The officer told the suspect to stand up and put down what was in his hands, only to be met with nonsensical rants.
"Paul, is that you? I swear to God I will take her head off. I will cut it off, Paul. I will cut his head off!" the complaint quotes the suspect as saying.
Another officer arrived and saw the defendant holding what turned out to be scissors above the victim's head. That second officer yelled until he made eye contact with the suspect and said, "Don't do anything stupid."
The suspect looked at the window into the officer's eyes, stabbed the unresponsive victim in the neck with the scissors, looked at the officer again, and stabbed a second time, the complaint says.
Officers, with backup arriving, ran around to the front of the apartment-style house and kicked in the door. The suspect was still lying over the victim, a pair of bloodied scissors in his hand. Guns aimed, they ordered Haukos to drop the scissors.
In a struggle that followed, he repeatedly yelled that he was the "devil" and other strange titles.
"He said that God would come down and kill all of them for interfering with him," the charges say.
Several officers struggled with Haukos and were becoming tired, and tasers seemed to have no effect on him, the court papers say. They eventually subdued him and took him to Regions Hospital, with him singing and making nonsensical, religious-themed statements all the while.
At the hospital, Haukos allegedly told a nurse that he was trying to cut the head off the victim and that he knew "she" was dead.
"He stated that he thought he was the Devil and the victim was a witch and he had to kill her," the complaint says. "He said that since she was a witch she could bring back the dead and he couldn't let that happen."
Stein died at the scene of blood loss from multiple stab wounds to the neck, according to preliminary findings of the Ramsey County Medical Examiner.
Later Thursday, police interviewed Haukos at the hospital. He said that "he had tried to kill himself several times in the past year, that he was seeing things, and that his mind was not the healthiest."
He told police that he had been cleaning Stein's apartment the two had smoked marijuana and he "flipped out" on Stein.
"I thought she was the devil, a witch, because of the way she was able to so eloquently able to quote the Bible."
One man at the residence Friday afternoon, who declined to give his name, said that he "heard the police pounding" and that the confrontation left him shaken.
The home is run by Communities Foundation, part of the South Metro Human Services of St. Paul. Officials there declined to comment on Friday.
According to its website, Community Foundations is a 16-bed intensive residential treatment program for adults with serious and persistent mental illness, or dual problems that also include substance abuse. Friday, staff members at a building that houses Community Foundations, across the street from the residence where Stein died, also declined to comment.
South Metro's website says that former clients often return to Community Foundations "to visit, have a meal and share success stories with current residents."
Joy Powell • 651-925-5038