A fistfight between two siblings turned deadly Tuesday morning when the eldest pulled a knife and stabbed his 17-year-old brother nine times, killing him with a thrust to the heart, charges say.
Eric J. Young, 24, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder on Wednesday in connection with the slaying. He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
Authorities on Wednesday identified the victim as Davant Coppage. The teen was an incoming senior at Harding High School, where he played wide receiver on the varsity football team.
At the time of the attack, Young remained on probation in Hennepin County for a previous felony assault involving his girlfriend.
According to the criminal complaint:
Officers responded to an apartment on the 2200 block of Lower Afton Road around 3:15 a.m. after their mother dialed 911 to report her sons fighting, one of whom had been cut with a knife.
Upon arrival, officers found Coppage unresponsive with multiple stab wounds to his chest and abdomen. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Young was arrested onsite.
In an interview with police, their mother recounted how Coppage called around 2:30 a.m. for a ride home from north Minneapolis. She refused to pick him up, but offered to arrange an Uber home to their Highwood Hills apartment. Her debit card wasn’t working, so he found another way.
By the time Coppage got back, “he was in a rage,” charges say. Young confronted his brother about disrespecting their mom. They challenged one another about financial contributions to the household. Eventually, their dispute escalated to a fight in the bedroom.
Young later emerged from the room, explaining that a knife had been involved in the fight. His mother raced into the bedroom and flipped on the lights to find blood all over the room. “What did you do, Eric?” she exclaimed, according to the complaint.
When police arrived, Young claimed to have snatched the knife from his brother and thrown in down the garbage chute in the hallway. He denied stabbing Coppage.
Investigators found the weapon on the bedroom floor. His mother told detectives that Young carries a knife for his protection “because he has enemies in north Minneapolis.” Both sons had threatened each other with knives before and frequently fight, she said.
Their sister, who was not home at the time of the fight, told police that Young was jealous of Coppage because he was perceived as the favorite.
In a police interview, Young described his younger brother as the instigator and said the teen was ready to battle from the moment he got home that night. Young claimed that Coppage tried to smack him before pulling a knife, which Young seized and then blacked out. He denied that the knife was his.
An autopsy determined that Coppage bled to death as a result of multiple blunt force injuries, including one “penetrating wound to his heart.”
His death marked the 20th homicide of the year in St. Paul.