Man arrested for killing pregnant woman pleads guilty to murder charges

A St. Louis Park man has pleaded guilty in connection with the murder of a pregnant woman in Lakeville in January.

Court documents show 32-year-old Donte Rapheal McCray pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder on Monday in exchange for 306 months in prison for one count and 261 months in prison for the other count. A judge still needs to approve that plea.

Court documents show McCray was charged with a second count of second-degree not premeditated murder in January. Initially, he was charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of 31-year-old Kyla O’Neil, but the state added the second count after her baby, whose name was Messiah, according to Kyla’s family members, died at the hospital after being on a ventilator.

RELATED: Man charged with killing pregnant woman in Lakeville now facing extra murder charge

RELATED: Man charged with murder in killing of pregnant woman in Lakeville

Officers from the Lakeville Police Department were called to a parking lot outside the Amazon Fulfillment Center warehouse on 217th Street West at around 6:51 p.m. on January 8, 2023. There, they found O’Neal suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck.

She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. While medical personnel were able to deliver Messiah — who was due a few days later — he died nearly a week after the mother died.

RELATED: Baby of woman fatally shot in Lakeville parking lot dies

Kyla O’Neal (Courtesy: Family)

At the scene, officers spoke with McCray, who they learned was O’Neal’s significant other and the father of her newborn. According to court documents, McCray was “distraught” and said he and O’Neal had been arguing most of the day because she’d learned that he had another child with another woman while O’Neal was pregnant.

McCray said he was at his mother’s home and O’Neal picked him up to drop him off at work at the Amazon facility. However, once there, he realized he had guns in his bags and wanted to “clear” them of any live rounds so they’d be safe around his kids, a criminal complaint states.

As he started to clear the guns in the parking lot, he told officers the gun accidentally fired and shot O’Neal in the neck.

O’Neal’s family members told officers they’d seen interactions between McCray and O’Neal on Sunday and her mother was even called over to their home because one of O’Neal’s kids said McCray was getting aggressive. Family members added that O’Neal told McCray she “didn’t want to be bothered with him” and that he “had to go,” the complaint adds.

Additionally, O’Neal’s mother told officers that she saw the two arguing over O’Neal’s keys and the mother had to break them up after McCray “rushed” O’Neal. She also stated that McCray threatened to kill O’Neal if she had another man around his kids and told her and her family, “You all ain’t bulletproof. I’m going to (expletive) you all up. You ain’t bulletproof,” before he went to his mother’s house just over an hour before the shooting.

Surveillance video from the parking lot showed that, as O’Neal was re-parking in the lot, she briefly reversed the car and bumped into McCray before the shooting. When officers talked to McCray again, he admitted he was angry the car door hit him when O’Neal backed up so he pointed the gun at her and fired, although he claimed he didn’t know there was still a round in the chamber, the complaint states.

Another person told officers that McCray is “very well acquainted with firearms” and knows how to disassemble them while O’Neal had also taken gun safety classes so she wouldn’t have needed his help to clear live ammunition out of the gun.

O’Neal’s sister, Samantha Scott, said Kyla was excited to welcome a new baby into the world.