Man charged in beating death of girlfriend


A Minneapolis man was arrested in Illinois and has been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Almanzo Cotton, 39, was arrested Wednesday morning. His first appearance will be set after he is returned from Illinois. He is charged with unintentional second-degree murder in the death of 54-year-old Kim Theng in their home in the 3300 block of Sheridan Avenue North.

According to the criminal complaint, at 9:21 a.m. Nov. 17, Cotton called 911 to report a burglary at his house and then quickly hung up. A few minutes later, he called back to say he had returned home to find Theng lying on the floor and he left immediately.

Theng was pronounced dead about an hour later at North Memorial Health Hospital. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner determined three weeks ago that she died from blunt force head trauma.

Cotton told police he and Theng argued on Nov. 13 and she walked out of their house and he didn’t see her again until he found her lying on the floor, the complaint states. A Theng family member confirmed that she told them about the fight and she was staying in a motel. The family member was also aware that Cotton had physically abused Theng in the past.

An examination of Theng’s cell phone and location data on her phone and Cotton’s phone showed that on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 Cotton made numerous calls and sent instant messages to Theng’s phone, according to the complaint. By 6 p.m. on Nov. 15, both phones were at the Sheridan Avenue home. About 8 a.m. Nov. 17, Cotton’s phone went to and from Theodore Wirth Park and then he made the 9:21 a.m. call to police.

On Jan. 19, a Minneapolis police investigator reached Cotton by phone and he changed his story to say that he had seen Theng when she returned to the house on Nov. 15, that they talked a little and then he hung out on the streets, doing drugs and not returning home until the time he found her on the floor, the complaint states. He agreed to meet the investigator the next day, but never showed.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)