St. Paul sexual assault, burglary: Maplewood man charged

A Maplewood man has been charged after he broke into a woman’s home in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul and robbed and sexually assaulted her. 

According to court documents, Deonte Thomas, 34, is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct while armed with a dangerous weapon, one count of first-degree burglary while assaulting a person and one count of felony possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. 

"Each of us should expect to be safe in our own homes, free from the violence that transpired in our community this past week. I want to thank the sexual assault investigators from the St. Paul Police Department for their tireless and quick work. We will do everything in our power to bring justice to the victim and our community in this case," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement about the charges. 

On April 15, just before 4:30 a.m., police responded to a home on the 300 block of Snelling Avenue South on reports of a sexual assault and burglary, court documents say. 

The charges allege the victim told dispatch she had just been raped at her home by an unknown man who "held a gun to her head."

READ MORE: St. Paul police make arrest in sexual assault, burglary case

The suspect, who police later identified as Thomas, had broken through a door to enter the victim's house, the complaint said. 

According to the charges, when police arrived at the home, they found the victim sitting on her front steps, upset. She told police Thomas fled on foot about 10 minutes before police arrived. 

Police found broken glass on the floor inside a partially opened door, and found clumps of "dark human hair" on the floor of the bedroom. A search for the suspect was then conducted. 

Court documents say the victim told police that she was asleep in her bedroom when she heard pounding on the side door of her home. The victim said she saw Thomas break the glass on the door and reach through to unlock it. 

The victim then asked Thomas, "What do you want?" and he replied wanting to know where her money was. The victim then handed him her purse, and he took cash out of it. Thomas then allegedly said, "I’m not looking for money" and attacked her, court documents said. 

The victim struggled with Thomas on the bathroom floor and bed. Thomas then allegedly took out a black semi-automatic gun from his pocket and forcibly sexually assaulted her, the charges say. Thomas also reportedly strangled the victim until she fell unconscious. 

During the struggle, the victim reportedly tried to grab Thomas’ gun, biting his right arm in the process, but was unable to get it, court documents said. Thomas then left the house. 

The victim was taken to the hospital for a sexual assault examination. Forensic evidence was collected for DNA testing. After Thomas’s arrest on Thursday, his DNA was collected and given to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing and authorities are awaiting results. 

Video footage from the area of the victim's home showed a truck registered to Thomas in an alleyway near the victim’s home, charges said. The same truck was captured by a license plate reader two minutes before the victim called 911, heading away from her house. 

According to court documents, more video footage showed a man walking on the victim’s property around the time of the incident. A still image from the video was shown to the victim, who identified the man as her assailant with "100% certainty." 

Thomas’ girlfriend was also shown the image. She confirmed it was Thomas. His girlfriend also confirmed that Thomas had a large scar on his stomach, which the victim also described to police, charges said.

Court documents say Thomas’s girlfriend also found a black semi-automatic gun in his car, which she said she took but gave back to him later. 

After Thomas was arrested on Thursday, he allegedly told people he "f---ed up" and he was "frustrated and angry over life circumstances," and he "violated someone’s personal space."

Thomas then detailed to police the events of the incident, but denied certain accusations and denied using a gun during the incident but said a black gun was found in his truck, court documents said. 

Thomas’ car was searched and a .40 caliber M & P Shield handgun with a magazine of six live rounds was found, charges say. During a search of Thomas’ girlfriend’s home, where he usually stays, and her car, two more firearms were found. Thomas does not have a permit to carry a firearm and also has previous felony convictions preventing him from owning one. 

Thomas is set to make his first court appearance on Monday.