St. Paul man charged in Deer River murder

Itasca County has charged a St. Paul man with Second Degree Intentional Murder, for a death earlier this month at a Deer River home.

33-year-old Nigel Randel Blackburn is facing 40 years in prison, with unconditional bail set at $2 million and conditional bail set at $1 million.

According to the complaint, authorities were called to the 500 block of 4th St. SE in Deer River, after a call from the mother of Allison Mandich who lives at that residence. Police were able to make contact with Mandich on June 13, who told Deer River Police that someone she knew was shot on June 9 and his body was still inside her home.

Police were granted entry into the house and could see a blood trail to the living room, where the victim was lying. Police say he had apparent bullet holes, and found other blood throughout the house.

The complaint says Mandich told police Blackburn had shot and killer her friend at her home, and that she drove Blackburn to a residence in Monticello after the shooting. All three people involved knew each other, and Mandich told police both men had a romantic interest in her. Mandich had a previous relationship with Blackburn, and considered the victim a friend.

An argument ensued between Blackburn and the victim. Court documents say the victim was shot at least five times. Mandich said she and Blackburn remained at the house for several hours after the shooting, and Blackburn tried to wipe away footprints and disposed of the victim’s cell phone.

The complaint says the day of the shooting, June 9, Wright County Sheriff’s deputies were called to an apartment in Monticello, where Blackburn was having a mental health episode. Mandich was also present. The next day, police were called to the residence again, where Blackburn was taken to the emergency room and placed on a mental health hold. He was later transferred to Prairie St. John’s in Fargo.

The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office is anticipating Blackburn’s release in the coming days, with Fargo Police preparing to assist.

Blackburn’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 12.