Man charged with murder in killing of pregnant woman in Lakeville

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Prosecutors have formally charged a man with killing the woman who was pregnant with his child Sunday night in Lakeville.

Court records show that 32-year-old Donte Rapheal McCray is charged with second-degree intentional murder. He made his first court appearance Tuesday and had his bail set at $2 million.

RELATED: Pregnant woman dies after being shot, found in Lakeville parking lot; man in custody

Lakeville police say officers were called to a parking lot outside the Amazon Fulfillment Center warehouse on 217th Street West at around 6:51 p.m. There, they found 31-year-old Kyla O’Neal suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck.

Kyla O’Neal(Courtesy: Family)

She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. While medical personnel were able to deliver her baby — who was due Wednesday — the child was fighting for his life and was on a ventilator as of Monday night.

Family told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the baby is named Messiah, which means “god,” as Kyla was a very spiritual person.

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

“I’m baffled, and I pray that justice be served for my sister, she didn’t deserve this,” Scott said.

At the scene, officers talked 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.

Katina, Kyla’s mother, said she is focusing her thoughts on baby Messiah’s healing.

If convicted of murder, McCray could face up to 40 years in jail.

Tuesday, Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena issued the following statement. While the family says Kyla’s last name is O’Neal, the attorney’s office refers to her as Ms. Fletcher.

“At the time of her death, Ms. O’Neal was pregnant. The baby was delivered via cesarean section and is currently in critical condition. If the baby does not survive, additional charges will be filed in relation to the baby’s death. My deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Ms. O’Neal for their great loss.

Mr. McCray is currently on probation in Hennepin County for possession of a pistol in a public place without a permit. Under the terms of his sentencing order, effective May 18, 2022, he was required to forfeit all firearms and was prohibited from possessing any firearms.”

Kathy Keena