An Anoka County grand jury has amended charges against Alberto Palmer, indicting him on two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Brittany Clardy, including one involving rape, prosecutors said Friday.
Palmer, 24, was charged previously with premeditated murder and now also is charged with murder with criminal sexual conduct, both punishable by life sentences with no chance of parole. Palmer, who has been in jail since March, also was charged last month in Hennepin County in the death of Klaressa Cook, 24. Both women’s bodies were discovered in cars in impound lots.
Palmer, in shackles and dressed in gray, seemed confused as he was read the new charges by Anoka County Judge Daniel O’Fallon.
“Do you understand?” O’Fallon asked.
“Not really,” Palmer responded as his public defender, Joann Anton, reminded him that he did not have to speak in court. But Palmer continued to mutter, “But I’m saying … I’m not gonna agree … How can some [rape] pop up?”
Palmer also spoke up in the hall outside the courtroom as two guards escorted him back to jail.
“I didn’t do it,” he said to a reporter. “You can write that. Put that in the Star Tribune. Alberto Palmer didn’t do it.”
When Palmer returns to court in February, his team of public defenders is expected to contest statements taken by police after his arrest in March in Clardy’s death.
According to court records, in post-Miranda statements taken on March 6 and 7, Palmer told police that he met Clardy, 18, through an online escort ad and that the two had sex at a home in Brooklyn Park and afterward they began to “tussle.” The records say 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.
O’Fallon is expected to rule after February’s hearing whether Palmer’s statements will be admissible during his trial. The judge could rule that Palmer felt pressured by police and felt forced to make the statements during an interrogation.