A 19-year-old Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his upstairs neighbor in the heart outside their apartment building.
Robinson Palacios-Castro admitted in Hennepin County District Court this week to second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Elias Lopez-Lopez last November.
The plea agreement, coming just as jury selection was to begin, calls for Palacios-Castro to receive a 22-year term when he is sentenced Sept. 21. With credit for time served since his arrest, he will spend the first 14 years or so in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Lopez-Lopez was found facedown on the front steps of the apartment building in the 3000 block of Clinton Avenue S. about 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 23 with multiple stab wounds, including one to the heart. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and died the next day, Thanksgiving.
Palacios-Castro was arrested within two hours of returning to his basement apartment. He had a kitchen knife in his waistband and told police he was defending himself from three men who jumped him outside the building.
However, another neighbor told officers that he saw the two men fighting and that he recognized them from the building, police said. Police said the neighbor ran inside to call 911 and when he came back out, he saw Palacios-Castro stabbing Lopez-Lopez. When the neighbor yelled for the attack to stop, Palacios-Castro chased the man for several blocks.
Neither the prosecution nor the defense have revealed why Lopez-Lopez and Palacios-Castro were fighting.