A 38-year-old man was charged Wednesday with fatally stabbing a fellow resident at a state-operated mental health group home in West St. Paul.

John C. Adams II was charged in Dakota County District Court with second-degree murder in connection with the killing early Monday of 68-year-old David E. Rahn at the residence in the 1500 block of Christensen Avenue. Adams remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

The criminal complaint said Adams claimed self-defense while speaking with police and also said Rahn was despondent and stabbed himself. However, the medical examiner found many wounds to one of Rahn's hands, indicating his effort to fend off the attack.

The Christensen House is one of three DHS-operated group homes caring for people who have been civilly committed for a mental illness and then temporarily discharged from a DHS treatment facility, such as the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

Records from nearly two years ago show that the state investigated a claim by someone receiving services at the home who said they were threatened with a 10-inch knife. A state inquiry failed to substantiate the allegation.

Previous assault

Adams' criminal history includes a third-degree assault conviction in 2001 in Hennepin County in connection with smashing a glass in a woman's face and cutting her at the 8th Street Grill in downtown Minneapolis.

The court found him to be "a clear danger to the safety of others" and mentally incompetent to stand trial. His sentence was set aside in exchange for him being put under Security Hospital supervision for at least three years.

In October 2018, Adams was granted provisional discharge from the Security Hospital to the Christensen House, but that discharge was revoked less than nine months later for violations of the discharge conditions.

Court records fail to show why Adams was still at Christensen House this week. The stabbing prompted another order to strip him of the provisional discharge.

According to Wednesday's criminal complaint:

A group home staff member alerted law enforcement about 3:50 a.m. of a disturbance in Rahn's bedroom and heard him screaming for help.

She went to enter the room, but someone was blocking the door. She heard a voice say "it was OK." The staff member told a 911 dispatcher that she didn't hear anything further from the room and said "something isn't right."

A police officer arrived and saw a shirtless Adams running from the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses across the street and into the group home.

In a Kingdom Hall trash can, police located a "badly bent" and bloody kitchen knife inside a garbage bag. Another bag held a pair of blood-soaked gloves.

Officers located Rahn in his room with stab wounds to his neck and back. Medics declared him dead at the scene.

Adams first told police that Rahn had "busted into his room" and attacked him. Adams said he and Rahn started wrestling before Adams left to get a knife and returned to Rahn's room. He explained that Rahn "was still attacking" him when he stabbed his fellow resident.

Questioned later at police headquarters, Adams gave a different account. He said he was invited into Rahn's bedroom, where Rahn said he had nothing to live for and started stabbing himself.

The medical examiner found stab wounds to Rahn's face, neck, upper body and elsewhere. He also suffered at least 20 stab wounds to one of his hands, which are "consistent with defensive wounds," the complaint said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482