Suspect charged with murder of man found stabbed to death in vehicle in Crystal

A week after a man was found dead inside a vehicle in Crystal, prosecutors have charged a suspect with murder.

Larondo Connell Willis, 37, faces a second-degree murder charge for the killing of 40-year-old Eddie Winters.

Crystal police say Winters was found inside an SUV near North 32nd and Hampshire avenues around 7:20 a.m. on March 21 after a person reported a suspicious vehicle.

Court documents note that Winters was stabbed 19 times and pronounced dead at the scene. Police initially ruled his death suspicious before later asking for the public’s help to find any evidence that may have been dumped nearby.

Surveillance video from nearby homes showed that Winters’ vehicle parked where it was found between 7:16 p.m. and 8:26 p.m. the night before he was found.

A witness who was in the area during that window told police they saw a man in a puffy jacket come out of a portable toilet and the man asked the witness to give him a ride. The witness declined and the man walked away. Police later found blood smeared on the inside handle of the portable toilet.

Winters’ 14-year-old son told police that they’d gone to a barbershop together the night before Winters was found. While they were there, a man that Winters referred to as “cousin” came inside. That man left with Winters and his son and, according to charging documents, was still with Winters when he came back to the son’s apartment at around 7:15 p.m.

The son later confirmed the man was the same person wearing the puffy jacket that the witness reported, and he confirmed it was Willis after family members showed him pictures of Willis, a criminal complaint states.

Charging documents note that Willis’ phone pinged at the barbershop, the son’s apartment, and the location where the witness saw him before finally pinging near the Robbinsdale Metro Transit station around 9:20 p.m. that night.

Willis was arrested the following day for an unrelated assault, jail records show. In that incident, he’s accused of punching a man in the head at a Minneapolis shelter, leaving the man intubated and in critical condition.

According to court documents, Winters’ family members told officers that Winters and Willis had a cousin in common. However, that cousin was murdered in April 2022 while with Winters. They added that some family members, including Willis, were upset with Winters because he ran away from the murder instead of helping his cousin.

Willis is scheduled to make his first court appearance on the murder charge Friday afternoon. He faces up to 40 years in prison.