Charges: Friends broke into suspect's garage to find dead body

John Erickson

The decomposing body found in a St. Paul garage has resulted in murder charges against the property's owner, who police say used to hold gatherings for neighbors and friends in the space before the victim went missing.

Several friends of Allan "Buddy" Aguilar discovered his body--wrapped in plastic and under debris after having sat for some period of time--after breaking into the garage at 607 Lawson Ave. E, according to a criminal complaint. They told police that the owner, John Erickson, had previously threatened to kill Buddy and noticed suspicious behavior around the time of his disappearance.

Police found Erickson asleep in his bedroom, asking only for officers to take care of his dog before being taken into custody, the complaint said. Also in the garage was a stripped-down stolen car.

"Hey, man, just do me a favor and watch my dog," he told police. "I am doing the same thing you do, you know, cleaning up the streets."

A neighbor also told police he had noticed a strong carcass smell and a large number of flies coming from Erickson's property, but shrugged it off after he was told a dog was recently buried in the backyard.

In a statement to police, Erickson said he allowed neighbors to work on cars in his garage until he heard Buddy had stolen some of his tools, prompting a confrontation between the two men.

A week later, he said he heard noises coming from the garage and was hit by a bat or solid object when he went to investigate. He struck the intruder several times and killed the man, rolling him up in plastic out of panic, he said. Erickson claims it wasn't until the next morning that he noticed the man was Aguilar, deciding then to leave him in the plastic and let the maggots dispose of the body.

The autopsy showed Aguilar died of head trauma.

If convicted of the two counts of second-degree murder, Erickson faces up to 40 years in prison. He has three prior convictions, including terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct and failing to register as a predatory offender.