Man pleads guilty to burning girlfriend to death


Wyndale Fayson pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder and first-degree arson in the death of his girlfriend Vanessa Danielson, from a fire he started, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

Fayson, 33, will be sentenced on July 24 and is expected to receive more than 52 years in prison. He is expected to receive 480 months for the murder charge, which is the maximum under the Minnesota statute, and 150 months for the arson charge. The two sentences would be served consecutively.

“We are glad Mr. Fayson took responsibility for his heinous crime and pleaded guilty," Freeman said. “If the judge agrees with the proposed sentence, the earliest Mr. Fayson will get out of prison is when he is 68 years old.

On Dec. 14, a Hennepin County Grand Jury indicted Fayson for first-degree murder. Had he been convicted on that count, his sentence would have been life in prison without parole. Fayson’s attorney asked Fayson if he was pleading guilty to these charges so that he would have some chance to get out of prison, and Fayson said yes.

According to the criminal complaint and testimony in court, police were called to Danielson’s apartment in the 2900 block of Taylor Street Northeast about 2:45 a.m. September 28. She told police that her boyfriend, Fayson, had come to her apartment and became angry. She also reported that Fayson said he would kill her by setting the place on fire. He was gone when police arrived.

About 6:41 a.m., police again were sent to the same address and when they arrived, they saw the upstairs apartment on fire and Ms. Danielson lying in the front yard badly burned. A neighbor, who held her hand while waiting for paramedics to arrive, reported that Ms. Danielson said, “He lit me on fire.” And when the neighbor asked who “he” was, Ms. Danielson said, “Wyndale,” according to the complaint.

Ms. Danielson suffered from severe burns on her entire body and died a short time later.

Police found Fayson on his hands and knees about three blocks away. He was screaming in pain from severe burns to his body and was heard saying he should not have gone back to the house, the complaint states.