Man sentenced to prison for fatally punching another man in 2023

A Ramsey County judge sent a man to prison for throwing a single punch that left another man dead last summer. 

Darren Johnathon Duffie, 29, was sentenced to 16 years (192 months) for an attack that led to the death of 43-year-old Richard McFee. Court records show he was also credited 278 days for time already served. 

The criminal complaint states the assault happened near a train platform at the intersection of Fifth Street East and Minnesota Street on July 23, 2023. McFee reportedly suffered a brain bleed, was declared brain-dead two days later and was removed from life support on July 26, 2023.

Court records show Duffie was charged with second-degree murder on Sept. 21, 2023, and pleaded guilty on Nov. 30. 2023. 

The criminal complaint states police first responded to reports of an unconscious man, later identified as McFee, near the train platform. He was then taken to the hospital for what medical staff later determined were non-survivable injuries. 

Officers say they then viewed surveillance footage that showed Duffie approach McFee from behind and punch him on the left side of his head. After McFee fell to the ground, Duffie was seen ditching his hoody in a trash can, which police recovered. 

Duffie was arrested the next day, and according to court records, told police that he attacked McFee because McFee "recently struck a female" he’s friends with. 

Duffie also claimed the two had argued about drugs and money weeks before the incident and that McFee stabbed him during that encounter. The complaint states Duffie showed police a "small older wound" that he claimed came from McFee stabbing him but said he did not seek treatment for it.

Court records show Duffie was on probation for a terroristic threats conviction related to a 2021 encounter with police at the time of the incident. Duffie has prior convictions for terroristic threats, check forgery, third-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance, court records show.