St. Paul man charged in killing another man with single punch

A St. Paul man is facing a murder charge after authorities say a single punch caused the death of another man in July.

Darren Duffie, 29, was charged on Sept. 21 with second-degree murder while committing a felony in connection with an attack on July 23.

According to court records, law enforcement responded to a call just before 9 p.m. for an unconscious man near the train platform at the intersection of Fifth Street East and Minnesota Street. 

At the scene, authorities found the man, identified as 43-year-old Richard McFee, lying on the ground with no apparent injuries. He was transported to Regions Hospital, where medical staff determined he had a brain bleed described as "non-survivable injuries." 

Medical personnel placed McFee on life support, but he was pronounced brain dead on July 25 and removed from life support the following day. The medical examiner determined McFee suffered "a closed head injury due to assault" and his manner of death was a homicide, according to court records. 

Investigators worked to determine what happened to McFee and reviewed surveillance video capturing a man approaching McFee from behind, and striking him once on the left side of the head. 

Authorities arrested Duffie on July 24, and he explained to investigators that he and McFee knew each other. Duffie claimed he attacked McFee because he had "recently struck a female friend of his" so he hit him from behind. 

He added they argued about drugs and money a few weeks ago, and McFee allegedly "stabbed" him during the encounter. Law enforcement described seeing a "small older wound" on the left side of his body, but Duffie said he did not get medical treatment.

Duffie was charged via warrant on Sept. 21. Prosecutors say he is currently on probation for terroristic threats related to a 2021 encounter with police. Court records did not indicate whether Duffie is currently in custody.