Photo: Dakota County Jail.
Photo: Dakota County Jail.
Updated: September 22, 2021 05:32 PM
Created: September 22, 2021 05:20 PM
A Red Wing man has been charged with second-degree murder in an incident at a Hastings hotel earlier this year.
The Dakota County Attorney's Office says 32-year-old Kyle Steven Williams has been charged in connection to the death of 36-year-old Kelly Jo Marie Kocurek, which happened on May 23, 2021.
Williams made his first court appearance on Wednesday. Bail has been set at $2 million with conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 4.
According to the criminal complaint, on the afternoon of May 18, the Hastings Police Department responded to a call for medical attention at a hotel. As officers approached, Williams ran out of the front of the hotel, screaming for law enforcement to hurry to the room where he and the victim were staying. Officers were able to see a woman, identified as Kocurek, laying on the floor on her back. She was unresponsive and police noted several cords that appeared to be cut next to her. Kocurek had blood on her bruised and swollen face, according to the complaint. Police also noted marks around her neck.
As officers continued to render aid to the victim, Williams continued to scream "hysterically" that the victim had allegedly strangled herself. She was transported to Regions Hospital and was in a coma for five days before she died on May 23.
Numerous witnesses were interviewed to find out what happened before the 911 call. Police learned the two involved were in a romantic relationship. The mother of Kocurek says she dropped both her and Williams off at the hotel on May 17. She then returned to the hotel at noon the following day and noted that Kocurek was in "good spirits" when she dropped a bag off. Then, at about 1:20 p.m., she received a call from Williams saying that Kocurek was "unresponsive," according to the complaint. The mother told Williams to call police. A hotel worker also said he heard what sounded like people were wrestling in a room, then 10 minutes later Williams came rushing to the front desk and called 911, shirtless and bloody.
Williams changed his story multiple times when telling authorities what happened. However, he remained persistent in saying that Kocurek strangled herself with a cord. One person close to the victim said that Kocurek had a pre-existing injury to her right arm, which limited her ability to use her hand. She needed assistance with putting her clothes on and brushing her teeth.
An autopsy revealed that Kocurek's death was a homicide and that she died as a result of asphyxia due to ligature strangulation. The medical examiner also noted several injuries that were inconsistent with a self-inflicted injury. According to the complaint, she suffered from a horizontal abrasion on her neck, a fracture on the hyoid bone, deep soft tissue hemorrhage and petechial hemorrhage in both eyes. She also suffered numerous brain injuries that are associated with a physical assault, as well as bruises on her face, head and ear, in addition to bilateral fractures of her jaw.
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