Man Appears in Court in North Mpls. Good Samaritan Killing

Updated: 02/04/2014 4:19 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 4:11 PM
By: Leslie Dyste

A 20-year-old man appeared in court Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge in connection with an unusual homicide that happened Friday in North Minneapolis.

Devon Derrick Parker is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Thomas Sonnenberg. Parker appeared in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, and was read his charges. His bail was set at $2 million, and he was given a public defender.

According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a report of a man who had gone to a home on the 3700 block of North Aldrich Avenue, asking the homeowner to call the police because people were chasing him with a bat.

Sonnenberg allowed Parker to enter his home, and locked the door. According to the complaint, both men were in the kitchen while Sonnenberg called 9-1-1.

An officer arrived at the scene at about 11:51 a.m. The door was locked and no one answered. The officer saw Sonnenberg through the window. Sonnenberg was slumped over in a chair and appeared to be dead.

Sonnenberg's wife came to the door and told the officer she couldn't unlock the door. According to the complaint, the officer noticed Parker come up behind the woman and place both hands on her shoulders. The officer ordered Parker to the floor at gunpoint. The woman was able to unlock the door, and Parker was arrested.

The woman told police she was home when Parker came to the door. She said he appeared to be frantic, paranoid and in some sort of distress. After her husband called police, she heard Parker ask him for a gun, knife, hat and gloves. She then heard a gunshot.

Parker came out of the kitchen and ordered the woman to the floor. He choked her with his hands and held a gun to her head, according to the complaint. She said the gun belonged to her husband, and that he always carried it on his hip.

Parker had the woman go upstairs to lock them in the bedroom, according to the complaint. When police arrived, they went downstairs.

Officers later recovered Sonnenberg's revolver underneath the bed in the upstairs bedroom.

On Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner announced the cause of Sonnenberg's death was a gunshot wound to the head.

Sonneberg's family members said he and his wife lived in their North Minneapolis home for more than 30 years.

Previous records show Parker had been previously convicted of assault and possession of drug paraphernalia in a public place, among other convictions.

If convicted, Parker faces up to 40 years behind bars. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Devon Derrick Parker
Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

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