Man charged with murder for cellmate’s death while serving life sentence at Lino Lakes prison

A man who is currently serving a life sentence in prison for murdering a child decades ago is now accused of strangling his cellmate to death at the Lino Lakes prison earlier this month.

A criminal complaint filed in Anoka County Court names 42-year-old Kyle Kelbel as the man accused of killing his cellmate, a 63-year-old man who was serving a 19½-year sentence. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his cause of death to be strangulation.

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Court documents say authorities first learned of the killing on the morning of Oct. 5 when Kelbel told a guard that his cellmate was dead and “made comments” indicating he killed him. The cellmate was pronounced dead at 11:38 a.m.

During an interview with agents from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Kelbel said he “just snapped” and killed his cellmate. Kelbel added he was “annoyed” by him and thought he would “maybe beat him up” at some point.

Kelbel said the night before, just after 10 p.m. on Oct. 4 when the nighttime count was done, the two exchanged words while Kelbel was entering his bunk. Kelbel told investigators he recalled saying something to the cellmate about how he should “kick his a**” and the cellmate responded with something like “why don’t you?” Kelbel also claimed the victim said something about a young female relative of his.

The complaint details how Kelbel then grabbed his cellmate from his lower bunk before slamming him to the floor and then punching and kicking him. He allegedly then took a string that was used to keep the cell door open and strangled the victim with it. Kelbel also described seeing the clock read 10:17 p.m. while he was strangling his cellmate.

Kelbel said after that, he cleaned the victim up, dressed him in clean clothes, put him back in his bunk and covered him in sheets to make it appear he was just sleeping. Kelbel said he then went to sleep in his bunk, the complaint states.

He went on to say he spent the next morning in the prison day room and later became concerned that guards didn’t know his cellmate was dead.

The complaint states that Kelbel made a call to one of his known contacts and told that person what he did to his cellmate. That call was recorded, and the recording was collected by investigators.

After informing the guards, Kelbel told investigators he wasn’t under the influence of any substances and no one else was involved in the killing.

Court records show Kelbel was convicted of first-degree murder while committing child abuse and second-degree murder without intent for the death of a two-year-old girl he was babysitting in December 2000.