Homeless man pleads guilty to murder under I-394 bridge


A homeless man pleaded guilty to killing another man under the I-394 bridge, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Duane John Blackbull, 43, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to second-degree unintentional murder of Kristie James Steinke, 49. Blackbull will be sentenced on May 18 to 210 months in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, on June 8, 2017 at approximately 8:00 a.m., Minneapolis police, in responses to a call, went to an area under the I-394 bridge just off Dunwoody Boulevard. There they found Steinke, unconscious, naked and lying on his stomach. Paramedics arrived on the scene and pronounced him dead.

A few feet away from Steinke’s body, officers collected a pair of pants, a t-shirt, and a rock with what appeared to be blood on it.  A witness approached the investigators and said that he had just come from a nearby homeless encampment and that Blackbull had been there with another man. The two men bragged to the witness that Blackbull had beaten up Steinke

The man who had been with Blackbull at the time of the murder later told police that Blackbull had punched Steinke in the face several times, kicked him and knocked him unconscious.

Police obtained a search warrant for a tent in the encampment where Blackbull had been staying and recovered jeans, a shirt and white shoes, which had blood on them. A photo ID of Blackbull was found in the pocket of the jeans.  DNA analysis later revealed that the blood on the jeans was the victim’s and a lip balm in the pocket bore Blackbull’s DNA.  On June 12, investigators were canvassing nearby areas and another witness told them that Blackbull was mad because Steinke had slept with Blackbull’s girlfriend while he was in prison.