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The St. Paul man who was found dead in his apartment a week after an assault died due to a single punch to the side of his face. 

That's according to charges filed Friday against Phillip C. Jones, which allege the 39-year-old attacked the victim in the hallway of an apartment building after being asked to move some of his belongings. Jones is charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of second-degree murder.

The victim, 51-year-old Carlos V. Rocha, had called police around 4 p.m. on Dec. 20, saying he'd been punched by someone in the hallway of his apartment building on the 600 block of Snelling Avenue. The man, whom Rocha said was staying with someone in an apartment next to his, had cluttered the hallway with his belongings, according to the charges. 

Rocha told the man to move his stuff. A brief verbal back-and-forth ensued, then the man punched Rocha on the side of the face with a closed fist, then fled, according to the charges.

Officers noticed Rocha had dried blood on his face, which was very obviously swollen on one side. Medics with the St. Paul Fire Department checked Rocha at the scene however and gave him the all clear, and he was not taken to the hospital.

Seven days later, Rocha was found dead in his apartment, with investigators finding evidence of significant blood loss in his bedroom. 

Rocha's mother on Dec. 27 had asked police to check on him, since she hadn't heard from him since Dec. 23 and that he'd remarked he was bleeding. Fire department medics were the first on the scene and found Rocha on the floor by the front door.

Authorities arrested Jones on Jan. 6, with witnesses and video surveillance from nearby properties helping piece together what prosecutors say happened. 

The charges say a witness who lives in the apartment building said she heard Rocha tell Jones to move his stuff, then Jones' retort before Rocha asked why he'd been punched. She also said she believed the attacker went by the name "Gunner." 

The property manager told police she went to the scene after the assault and saw ice cream smashed on the ground, the charges say. She also told authorities Rocha complained at the time he was "pulling a lot of flesh" out of his mouth.

Investigators pulled surveillance video from a nearby resident's doorbell camera as well as from an apartment building a block away. The footage shows someone matching Jones' description, carrying bags and on a bike that matched the witness' account of what had been in the hallway, traveling in the area, and hanging out in this second apartment building while eating from a tub of ice cream, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities also spoke with a man who lives at that apartment building a block from the crime scene, who said "Gunner" is homeless and will sometimes come stay with him, hanging out and smoking cigarettes, the charges state. 

A police source, using surveillance images, later identified "Gunner" as Jones. 

Jones, after his arrest, first denied knowing Rocha, then said he'd been in the hallway when Rocha fell and hit his face, at which point he escorted Rocha back to his apartment, the charges allege. After being told of witness accounts, Jones cussed. Later in the interview Jones said he had a "temper from hell" and needed to learn to control himself, the charges state.

Jones' bail was set Friday at $1 million without conditions. He has a court appearance scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m. 

A warrant had been out for Jones' arrest since March of 2021, in connection with first-degree arson charges. He's accused in that case of setting fire to a home while two women were inside sleeping. Neither was hurt. He later told police he'd walked by the fire, put it out and saved the women, according to the complaint.

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