Three charged in St. Paul killing over $12K drug debt

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG and PAUL WALSH S TAR TRIBUNE S TAFF W RITERS , S tar Tribune s taff w riters
  • Updated: March 26, 2012 - 9:12 PM

Sword, hammer and bayonet were found at the scene.

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Police suspect homicide in the death of a 38-year-old man who was found dead early Monday on a home's front porch on the east side of St. Paul, authorities said. St. Paul Police Sgt. Shay Shackle photographs the crime scene at 763 Lawson Ave E., which is the green house .

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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A St. Paul man was fatally assaulted with a screwdriver, other weapons and even hair spray over a $12,000 drug debt, according to murder charges filed on Monday.

Andrew W. Braun, 38, was found dead about 1:40 a.m. March 19 on the front porch of his home in the 700 block of E. Lawson Avenue. He had suffered blunt-force injuries and stab wounds.

"The scene around the body of Andrew Braun was a bloody mess, and he had been obviously assaulted and had numerous wounds to his head and body," read the charges against his alleged attackers. "A bloody samurai sword, bayonet and a hammer were found nearby."

Carlos Yobani-Flores Amador, 38; Maria H. Luna, 48, and Santana M. Valdez, 35, were each charged with one count of second-degree murder in Ramsey County District Court.

According to the complaint: Luna told police that she, Valdez and Amador went to Braun's house on March 18 to collect money he owed them for methamphetamine they had supplied. Luna had two BB guns to "scare" Braun.

Luna told police that shortly after they arrived, Valdez and Amador took Braun to the ground and started hitting him. Numerous weapons were used to assault him, the complaint said.

Valdez told police that a drug cartel would kill him for talking. He then said he sprayed Braun in the face with hair spray, the complaint said. Valdez said Amador used a screwdriver on Braun.

Amador declined to give police a statement. Charges noted that Amador had cuts to his hands.

The three suspects, all of St. Paul, were taken into custody Saturday without incident, police said. Bloody footprints at the scene matched the suspects' footwear, the complaint said.

Braun had a history with drugs and law enforcement. However, a recent statement from his family said: "We should not ignore that Andy was not just a drug addict with legal problems, but he was a deeply loved father, son, nephew, cousin, friend and loved one who once was a little boy from the East Side with a big heart and curious spirit."

Braun had lived at the residence with his girlfriend and was the father of two grown children. The house was posted with notices to vacate and had been condemned in the past.

cxiong@startribune.com • 612-270-4708 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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