Duluth men charged with attempted murder in home invasion attack that left 3 hospitalized
Two victims were stabbed in the break-in that targeted another resident of the same property, according to charges filed Tuesday.
DULUTH — Two men are charged with attempted murder after allegedly breaking into a Kenwood home and attacking three occupants in an apparent case of mistaken identity stemming from the theft of a phone charger.
Tristan Jade St. Clair, 22, and Dustin Hawke St. Clair, 27, both of Duluth, were arraigned Tuesday in State District Court on multiple felony charges related to the early Friday home invasion.
Duluth police said a 53-year-old woman, 36-year-old man and 32-year-old woman were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities did not identify the victims in court documents or in response to a request from the News Tribune.
Two of the victims were stabbed, while the third was struck over the head with a coffee pot, according to the criminal complaints. None of the victims knew the defendants, who allegedly were attempting to confront an unrelated party in another apartment unit.
According to the complaints:
A man had been staying with his sister at her apartment on the 1200 block of West Arrowhead Road after his relationship with his girlfriend "soured" shortly after New Year's. At some point on Thursday evening, he started receiving Facebook messages from Dustin St. Clair, a cousin of his estranged girlfriend, regarding a phone charger he had taken.
St. Clair reportedly challenged the man to a fight and sent a photo of himself holding a semi-automatic pistol, using slang to imply he would murder the man. The man called 911 and authorities searched the area, but were unable to find St. Clair.
The man later made plans to meet up with St. Clair outside the nearby Super One Foods, but the defendant failed to show. The man returned to his sister's apartment, but failed to lock the exterior door before heading to her basement bedroom.
Police described the property as a "single-family-type home that has been converted to makeshift apartments." The bedrooms are occupied by unrelated tenants, some of whom do not know each other.
The man was sleeping when he heard a "commotion" at a neighboring basement apartment shortly before 3:30 a.m. — later describing sounds of the door being kicked down and a man yelling out, "What did I do?"
A female resident and male guest told police they were in the neighboring room when the door was kicked open by two men, who were later identified as the St. Clairs. They reported that Tristan St. Clair immediately began stabbing them.
The woman was first stabbed in her left breast, mouth and side of the head. The man was then struck in the neck, face and chest area. It was estimated Dustin St. Clair attempted to stab him at least 15-20 times.
The same female victim then tried to intervene and was further stabbed in the side of her head, and also suffered a cut to her mouth.
"As defendant Tristan St. Clair stabbed both Victim 1 and Victim 2, defendant Dustin St. Clair stood nearby and continued to yell, 'Don't look at us,'" the complaint states. "Defendant Dustin St. Clair acted as a look out for defendant Tristan St. Clair."
The St. Clairs then proceeded upstairs, where they encountered the third victim: another resident of the apartment they had just left. Both reportedly shouted, "Don't look at us," and one struck the woman over the head with a glass coffee pot, causing lacerations to her head, face and hand.
The defendants then tried to flee the residence, but their vehicle got stuck in a snowbank. Tristan St. Clair was arrested by police next to the vehicle, while Dustin St. Clair was apprehended a short distance away after fleeing on foot.
The man who had previously been communicating with Dustin St. Clair identified him as one of the culprits, and police said the three victims of the physical attack provided descriptions that matched the suspects.
In the basement bedroom, officers found "large amounts of blood" and a hunting-style knife, with a blade that had broken off from the handle.
All three victims were found bleeding, with the man experiencing difficulty breathing and having to be removed on a gurney. They were taken to local hospitals and the man required surgery to avoid bleeding to death.
Authorities said the full extent of the victims' injuries and future treatment needs were not clear as of the filing of charges Tuesday.
The St. Clairs are each charged with aiding and abetting one another in two counts of attempted second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree burglary and one count of fifth-degree assault. Dustin St. Clair additionally faces a count of threats of violence.
Police said they did not know the relation between the St. Clairs, both of whom have criminal records.
Court records show Tristan St. Clair, who turns 23 on Wednesday, already has seven felony convictions on his record: four for assault and one each for violating a domestic abuse no-contact order, receiving stolen property and threats of violence.
Dustin St. Clair has one felony on his record, aggravated first-degree robbery, with lesser convictions for giving a false name to a police officer, fifth-degree assault, domestic assault, obstructing the legal process and neglect of a child.