After more than two months, authorities on Friday identified the victim of a brutal beating at a homeless encampment on the fringe of downtown.
Autopsy findings described the June 8 slaying of Kristie James Steinke, 48, of Minneapolis, as having been caused by “complex homicidal violence.” The date and location of his death aren’t listed in Friday’s findings.
It was unclear why it took so long for medical examiners to release Steinke’s identity after a preliminary autopsy found that he suffered multiple blunt-force injuries.
Four days after his death, a 42-year-old homeless man was charged with Steinke’s murder. Prosecutors allege that Duane Blackbull confronted Steinke in the encampment under the I-394 bridge near Dunwoody Avenue and beat him to death during an argument between the two men. A witness later told detectives that the argument started because Blackbull accused the other man of sleeping with his girlfriend while he was in prison, according to prosecutors.
Blackbull and the witness were arrested at a memorial service for the victim two days after the killing. The witness later told investigators that Blackbull had bragged to him about punching and kicking the victim until he was unconscious, while threatening to kill the witness if he told anyone about the attack, prosecutors said.
Detectives searched the witness’ tent after getting a warrant and found the bloody clothes police believe Blackbull wore during the killing.
Blackbull remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail. His next appearance is set for Sept. 15.