An 18-year-old Apple Valley man was charged Thursday with murder in the Aug. 1 death of a taxi driver during a robbery in Apple Valley.

Abdirahman Abdiwaha Abdikarim allegedly stabbed the taxi driver repeatedly with a screwdriver and later bragged to a friend: "I beat the guy up so bad, man, he fainted," according to charging documents.

The driver, Michael A. Palm Jr., 41, most recently of Apple Valley, suffered numerous stab wounds in the attack.

Abdikarim faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.

Laboratory tests found the victim's DNA matched that of DNA on the blade of the screwdriver, and other lab tests found DNA matching that of Abdikarim on the handle of the screwdriver, as well as his fingerprints and palm prints on the van's interior and exterior.

Even before those tests were completed, Apple Valley police were able to track down the suspect after he allegedly used the dead man's cell phone to call several people.

Police found witnesses who told them that after the slaying, Abdikarim was trying to sell a cell phone believed to belong to Palm, along with other items, at the Karmel Mall in Minneapolis. The complaint said one witness told police that the suspect made it known he had money, so the witness asked him where he got it.

The witness told police that Abdikarim had replied: "What I did, you do life for it, man, I can't tell you."

Abdikarim had allegedly gone on to tell that witness: "I got some killer hands, man, my fist."

Abdikarim has a criminal history that includes multiple theft charges and warrants for his arrest, including for offenses in Hennepin and Wright counties. Abdikarim had been held in the Dakota County jail on charges unrelated to the killing since August.

Friends of the victim told police that he was a father who had been homeless at the time he died, and that he slept in his taxi van when he was done with his fares each night. He once had a residence in Apple Valley.

Abdikarim appeared in court Thursday on the murder charges, and Judge Shawn Moynihan set bail at $1 million, or $750,000 bail with certain conditions. Abdikarim's next court appearance is set for Jan. 1 in Hastings.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017