Two men were charged Wednesday in the brutal death of a 31-year-old man whose scorched body was found Aug. 7 near a burning dumpster in south Minneapolis.
Charges filed by the Hennepin County attorney’s office said Manuel Guzman, 24, of Minneapolis, and Guillermo Ayala-Enriquez, 22, of Brooklyn Center shot Rufina Alejandra Clara-Rendon in the head after accusing him of being a snitch. They face second-degree-murder charges.
A Minneapolis police investigation found that Clara-Rendon was at a barbecue Aug. 7 with Guzman, Ayala-Enriquez and a fourth person after which they drove to Guzman’s south Minneapolis house.
According to the charges: A witness told investigators that Guzman and Ayala-Enriquez had recently robbed a drug dealer. The witness said that once they arrived at Guzman’s house, Guzman and Ayala-Enriquez accused Clara-Rendon of telling the dealer that they were the robbers. They took Clara-Rendon into a main-level bathroom and the witness heard one “bang.” Clara-Rendon had been shot in the head and was dead.
Guzman and Ayala-Enriquez allegedly rolled the body into a carpet, then cut open a mattress and stuffed him inside. The men loaded the mattress into Ayala-Enriquez’s car, drove to a SuperAmerica gas station and bought gas that they used to douse the mattress.
The witness said the men tried to put Clara-Rendon’s body in a dumpster on 39th Street between Snelling and Minnehaha Avenues S., but he was too heavy. They left it near the dumpster and set it on fire, the witness said.
A person who was standing outside smoking a cigarette at the time reported hearing a loud “whoosh” and seeing the glow of flames coming from the dumpster.
Firefighters were called at 11:30 p.m. They discovered the body on the asphalt and thought at first that it was a mannequin. A video surveillance system at SuperAmerica captured images of Guzman entering the store that night to buy two gas cans.
Guzman was already being held on unrelated charges. Ayala-Enriquez was arrested Tuesday by Minneapolis homicide investigators, Brooklyn Center police and the Minneapolis SWAT team.
Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747