Man stabbed to death by cousin in Crystal: Charges

Generic police lights. (FOX 9)

A Minneapolis man has been charged for allegedly stabbing his cousin 19 times, leaving the victim in a car to die at a park in Crystal, Minnesota.

Larondo Willis, 37, was charged Thursday with one count of second-degree murder with intent. 

On March 21, just before 7:30 a.m., Crystal police officers responded to a suspicious car parked on Hampshire Avenue North along Valley Place Park in Crystal. Once officers arrived, they found the car running with a deceased man inside. 

READ MORE: Crystal police investigating after body was found in a car

There was blood splattered inside the car, and officers found blood smeared on the front passenger-side door, court documents said. According to video surveillance police obtained, the victim’s car was parked there overnight from March 20 to 21. 

Court documents say that a witness was parked at Valley Place Park on the evening of March 20, around the time the victim’s car was parked there. That witness told police that a man, later identified as Willis, left a porta-potty and opened their car door and asked for a ride. The witness said no and Willis left. Investigators found blood smeared on the inside handle of that porta-potty. 

READ MORE: Crystal, Minn. homicide: Police ask for help finding bloody clothes, other evidence

Investigators also talked to the victim’s 14-year-old son, who told them on the night of March 20, him and the victim went to a barbershop together, court documents said. While at the barbershop, Willis allegedly entered the shop and the victim referred to him as "cousin". 

The victim’s son allegedly described Willis as "weird" and was wearing multiple layers of clothes, two hats and two pairs of gloves. The victim’s son told officers in a later interview that family members showed him a picture of Willis which he recognized as the "cousin" from the barbershop. The son also confirmed it was Willis in surveillance footage the police obtained from the area around the crime scene. 

The son told officers that he, the victim and Willis left the barbershop together on the evening of March 20, and the victim dropped his son off at home, charges said. The victim had to return to the home to help his son get into the residence, and the son stated that Willis was still with the victim. 

The owner of the barbershop also confirmed with police that Willis had made an appointment there, and provided police with Willis’ phone number, charges allege. 

Willis was arrested by Minneapolis police on March 21 for an unrelated assault investigation, according to court documents. Through that investigation, Willis’ cell phone—which matched the number given to Crystal police by the barbershop owner—pinged in multiple locations around where the victim was found dead. At the time of his arrest, Willis allegedly had a butterfly knife on his and his shorts had some blood on them. 

Court documents allege that officers learned from family members that the victim and Willis had a cousin in common that was murdered in April 2022. According to the charges, Willis was upset that the victim hadn't done more to intervene in that killing. 

According to the charges, the autopsy revealed that the victim was stabbed 19 times, and the victim had multiple defensive wounds.  

Willis is currently in custody at Hennepin County Jail. His first court appearance will be on Friday.