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St. Paul man who allegedly said TV told him to kill 2 in sober house pleads guilty

Man to enter plea in St. Paul sober home murders
Man to enter plea in St. Paul sober home murders 00:33

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A man accused of killing two men inside a St. Paul sober living residence in 2022 entered a guilty plea on Friday.

Joseph Sandoval, 34, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection to the deadly attack on Oct. 20, 2022.

According to court documents, officers arrived at the scene on East Lawson and Jessamine avenues to find Sandoval walking out of the residence wearing bloody clothing, with cuts on his hands and face.

Joseph Sandoval RCSO

He allegedly told police he had taken fentanyl before killing a fellow resident and a handyman inside after watching an episode of "Dragon Ball Z." Sandoval allegedly said a voice coming from the show warned him that the two were going to kill him and he needed to "take the opportunity" to strike first, court documents state.

Police say the victims — 40-year-old Jason Murphy and 56-year-old Jon Wentz, both from St. Paul — died from multiple lacerations and stab wounds.

Sandoval also faced several felony charges in Hennepin County at the time, including assault, theft and burglary cases from 2021. However, he was conditionally released after being found incompetent.

He entered a Norgaard plea in connection to the homicides, meaning he pleaded guilty but could not provide factual basis for his plea due to drug use or mental health impairment at the time. He was found competent to stand trial in June of 2023.

"This tragic case is a heart-breaking reminder of the limits our mental health system faces when addressing the needs of those with profound mental illness in the justice system," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "Our hearts go out to the Wentz and Murphy families who have suffered so profoundly due to these shortcomings."


Mental Health Resources

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988

In addition, help is available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text "HelpLine" to 62640. There are more than 600 local NAMI organizations and affiliates across the country, many of which offer free support and education programs. 

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