North Minneapolis man charged in St. Paul murder of Alex Becker

Arteze Owen Kinerd, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Arteze Owen Kinerd (Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

A north Minneapolis man is facing a murder charge in the killing of 22-year-old Alex Becker in St. Paul’s final homicide of 2022.

Arteze Owen Kinerd, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder with intent in the killing that took place just before midnight on Dec. 27 on the 500 block of Lawson Avenue West in what Becker’s family suspects was a robbery “only a few feet from his door.”

homicide
Alex Becker/GoFundMe

Kinerd is also charged in a separate Ramsey County case with aiding and abetting kidnapping and first-degree aggravated robbery for an incident earlier in December in which charges allege Kinerd and an accomplice held a man at gunpoint in his own vehicle and stole his cellphone, wallet and Apple Watch. The two suspects then drove the vehicle with the victim and his dog in the back seat while they transferred money from the victim’s bank accounts. The suspects eventually crashed the car, and the victim made his way back home with the suspects following him on foot. The suspects fled and the victim was able to call police.

The murder charge filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday says that various surveillance videos in St. Paul and north Minneapolis helped investigators piece together the sequence of events and identify Kinerd as one of three suspects involved in Becker’s murder.

The phone previously stolen in the earlier kidnapping and robbery also helped investigators track Kinerd to his residence at the Broadway Flats apartments at 2505 Penn Avenue North that he shared with his girlfriend, charges say.

On the night of Becker’s murder, surveillance video showed Becker approaching his home on Lawson after walking home from work. A black car with a damaged passenger headlight drove past Becker. Less than two minutes later, surveillance video captured the shadows of two people hidden behind a building out of Becker’s view. Three men then came into view and surveillance video captured details of what the men were wearing.

Becker turned down the alley toward his home, and the surveillance video showed the three men run down the same alley Becker had just entered. Other surveillance video captured the sound of shots — four rapid gunshots followed by three rapid gunshots and a final gunshot. Two of the men walked away from the area, and a witness saw a Camry with a broken passenger headlight drive into the area and two people got into it.

Surveillance video helped investigators identify the black Camry that had been stolen from Brooklyn Center the day prior. The same Camry had been seen in north Minneapolis driving recklessly earlier on the day of Becker’s murder.

Minnesota Department of Transportation cameras showed the same black car getting on Interstate 94 heading west after the murder. Minneapolis closed circuit cameras showed the car exiting the interstate at Broadway Avenue at 12:15 a.m.

The Camry was found by police on Jan. 2 three blocks from the Broadway Flats apartments where officers had previously pinged the cellphone taken in the prior kidnapping and robbery. Investigators identified Kinerd as being in apartment surveillance video from around the time the phone pinged to the building in that case.

Further details from the criminal complaint state that investigators learned that three men had left 2505 Penn Avenue around 10:14 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2022, before Becker’s murder.

The three men wore clothing matching the clothing of the three men who followed Becker into the alley. Kinerd was identified as the man who wore a jacket with a yellow hoodie beneath it.

Surveillance video showed the three men returning to the apartment building at around 12:27 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2022. Kinerd wore a white tank top, red pants with white stripes down the legs, and black shoes when he entered. Kinerd did not wear a jacket or any other winter weather clothing. Kinerd had discarded his jacket, yellow hoodie, dark sweatpants, and black balaclava he wore when he left. One of the other men who entered after Kinerd had discarded his jacket and red Members Only hooded sweatshirt — he still wore the same shoes. The third man wore the same jacket, gloves, and shoes that he wore when he left the apartment and near the murder scene.

The complaint states that on Jan. 3, 2023, officers located Kinerd in the Penn Gas Stop at 2606 Penn Avenue North. Kinerd’s eyes grew big, and he ducked down in the store when he saw the officers. Officers took Kinerd into custody and located a handgun hidden on a shelf in the area where Kinerd had ducked down. Kinerd had a cellphone on him when he was arrested.

Officers executed a search warrant on the Broadway Flats apartment where Kinerd stayed and recovered a Tommy Hilfiger winter jacket, black shoes with red laces, gray gloves, a white tank top, red pants with white stripes running down the outer legs, three rounds of ammunition, and a Sig Sauer box with one round of ammunition in it. Officers found an Omega .22 caliber short revolver with an ivory handle in a nightstand. Officers found two magazines loaded with 9mm ammunition on the kitchen table.

The Tommy Hilfiger jacket, gray gloves, and black shoes with red laces match the clothing worn by the man with Kinerd who had not discarded his clothing when he returned to 2505 Penn Avenue on the night of Becker’s murder.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the phone Kinerd had in his possession when he was arrested, where officers found a photo dated Dec. 22, 2022, showing Kinerd in a yellow hoodie with a gun in his hand. The phone contained an undated Google search for Minnesota murders in December 2022.

Kinerd agreed to speak to investigators and was shown still photos from when he returned to 2505 Penn Avenue North on Dec. 28, 2022. Kinerd was evasive as to whether he was the man in the photo wearing the white tank top and red pants with the white stripe down the leg. Kinerd looked at the photos and said he’s 6’4” tall. When asked why he was only wearing a tank top when it was cold outside, Kinerd replied that he was coming back from “seeing bitches” and he hadn’t gone far enough to wear a jacket. When asked if the other two men in the photo were with him, Kinerd said he doesn’t know them but they come in and out of his apartment.

The criminal complaint states that on Jan. 3, 2023, Kinerd made a call from the Ramsey County jail during which Kinerd told a woman he needed to speak to Tank. Kinerd said, “I’m cooked, I don’t know what to tell Fat. Fat might be cooked.”

On Jan. 4, 2023, Kinerd agreed to speak to a different investigator about a robbery and kidnapping that had occurred a few weeks before the murder. During the interview, Kinerd said he wasn’t worried about the robbery since other investigators had talked to him about a murder. Kinerd asked the investigator how much time he would get for murder.

Preliminary test results indicated that the gun recovered in the Penn Gas Stop store near where Kinerd was arrested fired the casings found by Becker’s body. Kinerd had the murder weapon when he was arrested.

The complaint says that Kinerd has two prior adjudications for first-degree aggravated robbery in Hennepin County.

Kinerd made his first court appearance on Thursday in both the murder and kidnapping/robbery cases and was granted a public defender. He remains jailed on $2 million bail on the murder charge and $500,000 in the kidnapping case.

Becker’s murder was St. Paul’s 40th homicide for 2022.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.

 

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.