In the month that accused killer Lyle “Ty” Hoffman ran from the law, he tried to disguise his identity, traveled the metro area in cabs and buses and played the slots at Mystic Lake Casino.
He allegedly robbed a bank in Blaine, suffered burns from a dye pack that exploded after he fled, and took refuge in urban woods.
When he was arrested outside a fast-food restaurant in Shakopee on Sept. 11, he identified himself as Mark Lamar Royce. Only after he was handcuffed did he reveal his true identity.
Details of Hoffman’s alleged steps before and after the Aug. 11 shooting of his former partner, Kelly Phillips, were spelled out Friday in an amended criminal complaint in Ramsey County.
The complaint did not, however, shed any light on whether Hoffman received help from anyone while on the lam.
Hoffman, 44, was charged earlier this month with second-degree intentional murder in the death of Phillips, 48. The two had dated for years, and opened Lush nightclub together in northeast Minneapolis, continuing their business partnership after they broke up.
But their relationship grew acrimonious recently.
According to the complaint:
Surveillance video showed Hoffman leaving a friend’s downtown Minneapolis condo about 4:58 a.m. Aug. 11. He is also shown crossing the Third Avenue bridge in Minneapolis about 5:22 a.m. The bridge is a direct route to Phillips’ condo.
Phillips’ BMW left the condo garage by 8 a.m.
Hoffman and Phillips arrived at the Arden Hills Holiday gas station in Phillips’ BMW about a half-hour later. The two argued.
When Phillips ran from the car, Hoffman fired two shots at him from a distance. Authorities say that Hoffman then fired one shot to the back of Phillips’ head at nearly point-blank range as Phillips was on his knees.
Hoffman fled the scene in the BMW, which was later found abandoned in a wooded area in Blaine.
For days, authorities searched for Hoffman in vain. Then he reappeared Aug. 31.
Authorities believe that Hoffman robbed a TCF Bank in Blaine at gunpoint that afternoon. Afterward, eyewitnesses said they saw a man matching his description walking shirtless with red dye stains on his back.
A red dye pack included in money taken by the robber had exploded across the street, the complaint said.
In a dumpster nearby, officers found a baseball cap Hoffman allegedly wore during the robbery. In nearby woods, they found a plastic bag containing beard dye, hygiene items and the key fob for the condo belonging to Hoffman’s friend, the complaint said.
Playing the slots
Days later, Hoffman turned up again on a store video.
According to the complaint:
He bought a shaver, backpack, shirt, sweatshirt and cellphone SIM card at the Target in Richfield at 66th Street and Cedar Avenue on Sept. 1. He changed into the clothes in the store restroom and left with the new backpack.
Authorities found the old backpack, which had holes and red dye stains, and old T-shirt in a nearby trash can.
Hoffman then took a bus to the Mall of America at 12:14 p.m. that day before taking a cab to Mystic Lake Casino, arriving at 3:45 p.m.
Casino surveillance video showed that security stopped Hoffman to check his backpack. Hoffman avoided the inspection, left the casino and entered woods across the street. A brief time later, Hoffman re-entered the casino and checked his backpack.
In the casino, Hoffman fed the red-dyed money into slot machines for an hour, receiving clean money in return.
Ten days later, on the morning of Sept. 11, a tipster led authorities to Hoffman near a fast-food restaurant in Shakopee.
Police found a factory test-fired casing in Hoffman’s abandoned car that matched casings found at the murder scene. They also found two loaded semiautomatic handgun magazines. The murder weapon has not been found.
Hoffman and Phillips were romantic partners for 15 years before breaking up about five years ago.
Hoffman was fired this year from Lush, which Phillips owned, and evicted from a duplex owned by Phillips. According to the complaint, cash deposits from the bar that Hoffman was responsible for had been “substantially lower” than they should have been.
Phillips, an attorney and Boston Scientific executive, was scheduled to marry another man in August. Phillips was killed on the anniversary of his engagement.