ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The Ramsey County Attorney’s office charged 25-year-old Maxim Rhone on Monday for the murder of a man at his St. Paul apartment. Rhone appeared in court for the first time Monday afternoon.
Police responded to the 400 block of Grand Avenue just before 2 a.m. Sept. 23 where they found a man who appeared to have been stabbed. The victim has been identified as 28-year-old Gerald "Jay" Joseph Montantes. He was transported to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to the criminal complaint, police interviewed a man when they arrived. The man, a friend of Montantes’, said that he brought him to the apartment so Montantes could collect personal property for his girlfriend Shanda Quade. Montantes and Quade “have a child in common and have dated off and on for several years,” the complaint said.
The man said that Quade was afraid to collect her property from the apartment "because her roommate, Rhone, had been acting strange lately.”
So, the man waited in his van while Montantes went inside and returned carrying two suitcases. Montantes then “forgot or lost his phone and returned to the apartment to retrieve it,” using the man’s cell phone to call and locate it. He was gone for about 15 minutes, so the man went to look for him. The defendant answered the door and said that Montantes was not there, so the man returned to his van. About 10 minutes later, however, the man “heard screams from the apartment and saw Montantes exit the back entrance to the building yelling for help,” eventually collapsing in the grass.
Police knocked on the apartment door and Rhone answered. Appearing calm, he said he stabbed Montates and told police the knife he used was on top of the microwave in the kitchen. Police located the large knife, which appeared to have blood on it.
Upon interviewing Quade, police discovered that she and Montantes “had been staying with the defendant for the past two to three weeks,” and they were being evicted at the end of the month.
According to the complaint, Montantes called Quade on his friend’s phone and “said that he dropped his phone in the apartment, but the defendant would not let him retrieve his phone.”
Quade said she could hear Rhone - also known as "Zani" - and Montantes arguing about the phone and that Rhone told him to go away and that he had a knife. She then heard screaming, and the phone went quiet. She contacted Montantes’ friend who told her that Montantes was outside and unconscious. It was then that Quade contacted the police.
Quade also explained to police that Rhone had been acting odd lately and that “he thinks he is God and that he owns the apartment building.” She said he was hearing voices and that a few days prior, on Sept. 20, she and Montantes were going to try to get some help for Rhone.
"I felt like he needed help and if I left, he would probably kill himself," she said. "I didn't want that to happen, but I didn't want him to kill Jay, either."
When they told Rhone they would seek help for him, he “became angry and broke the window,” jumping out and returning two hours later. He then argued with Montantes, displaying a knife and threatening to stab him.
Quade said that police came to the apartment and transported the defendant to Regions Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
According to the complaint, Rhone “told police that he was God and that there was a man in the apartment who was raping and stabbing a baby. An anonymous tenant told police that the defendant had been going in and out of a window instead of using a door and was walking around the building while mumbling.”
Shanda Quade described Montantes as a good-hearted person.
"He tried to help everyone," she said. "If he had a dollar in his pocket, he would give you his last dollar."
During an interview, Rhone said that Quade was his girlfriend and that she lived at the apartment with him.
He said that Montantes was her ex-boyfriend “and that she wanted nothing to do with him. He then contradicted himself by saying that she was always allowing Montantes to come over.”
After admitting he stabbed Montantes, Rhone said he did so in self-defense. He said the he told Montantes to leave the apartment and he would not, so he stabbed him. He said that Montantes got in his face, but that Montantes didn’t threaten or assault him that night.
Rhone did, however, state that Montantes assaulted him on Sept. 20, but that he didn’t report the assault.
According to the complaint he gave “inconsistent accounts about the number of times that Montantes entered the apartment on Sept. 23,” and he gave inconsistent accounts of how Montantes got into the apartment.
Additionally, Rhone said that he allowed Montantes to come get his things, but that he wouldn’t leave the apartment. He said that Montantes was asking for his phone, but that he already had a phone in his hand and “was only pretending to be talking” to Quade. He said that he stabbed Montantes, who then ran out the door. He then changed his story and said that Montantes tried to punch him.
Rhone's bail is set at $1 million.
Quade said that Montantes was a budding tattoo artist and that her body is covered in his artwork.
"We all love Jay," she said. "We miss him very much. I never meant for any of this to happen. He'll be missed by a lot of people."
Quade started a GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/2qs732c?ssid=750682337&pos=1