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Charges: St. Paul woman fatally stabbed her boyfriend, father of their 1-year-old

The man died from a single stab wound that struck an artery.
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Authorities say 23-year-old Eric Brown died after his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child, stabbed him during a dispute.

Kayla Pope was charged Monday with second-degree murder in connection with Brown's death three days earlier. He was found about 9 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Seventh Street East and White Bear Avenue, with the charges against Pope saying he had no pulse and was not breathing when officers arrived.

Brown, of Minneapolis, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officers spotted the 22-year-old Pope at the scene, saying she had appeared to try to hide something in nearby shrub, and had a blood stain on her shirt, according to the charges. When initially being placed into a squad car, she referred to Brown by name, saying, "Did I do anything?" and "He told you I didn't do anything, right?"

She also had a bruise on her cheek and scratch mark on her neck, according to the criminal complaint.

The charges state she gave an evolving account of the incident over the next two days. She first said an unknown man dressed fully in black stabbed Brown. Then she told officers it occurred during a drug deal gone wrong — Brown had wanted to buy marijuana, she went with and waited nearby, then the assailant stabbed him, rifled through his bag and hit her, according to the charges.

Investigators noted police had been called to Pope and Brown's apartment earlier that evening on reports they'd been fighting. Pope denied it, saying she was simply upset she hadn't won the lottery, according to the charges.

Investigators noticed a few inconsistencies. Brown had leftover takeout in his bag at the scene of the stabbing, and they weren't sure why he would take that to a drug deal. The charges say Pope also alleged Brown had a gaming system in his bag — which investigators again found odd.

Officers arrested Pope, who denied she was involved in Brown's death. Officers also went to their apartment and found the 1-year-old "living in squalor," according to the charges. 

Witness accounts and surveillance footage from a nearby auto shop told a different story than Pope.

According to the charges, the camera captured Pope chasing after Brown as he ran into the street, leaving the frame, then returning a few minutes later and physically colliding. Brown goes down to the ground, gets up, then flees — but is "slumped over" as if injured, the charges state. He then collapses, and Pope can be seen standing over him briefly. 

Multiple witness accounts supported the video footage.

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After investigators told Pope about the surveillance cameras, she offered a new account, according to the charges: Brown was abusive and violent as he'd been withdrawing from drugs, and had tried to assault her earlier that day. Pope, the charges state, claimed Brown threw a toy at her and scratched her knife with a neck.

Worried, she grabbed a steak knife and chased him, the complaint says she told police. She said she tried to stab Brown's backpack, not him directly, but he suddenly turned, causing the blade to hit him. 

She told investigators she did not want him to die and had not been trying to stab him, according to the charges. 

The medical examiner determined Brown died when knife cut through his distal pulmonary artery, leading to rapid, severe blood loss.

Pope had a court appearance Monday morning. An omnibus hearing is set for Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m.

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