Homicide: Woman found burned in St. Paul warehouse, suspect arrested near his burning home
The homicide was the 11th of the year in St. Paul.
ST. PAUL -- Police found the burnt body of a woman at a St. Paul warehouse Tuesday and, soon after, located a suspect near his Bloomington, Minnesota, home that had been set ablaze.
Kelli Ranning Goodermont, the 44-year-old who was killed at her workplace, and the man under arrest were formerly in a relationship and she previously described abuse.
She said Patrick Morris Simmons, 47, held a loaded gun to her head last year, according to a court document Goodermont filed in June, seeking an order for protection for her two teenage daughters against Simmons. In 2018, Simmons was charged in an assault against Goodermont.
Also last June, Simmons was the subject of a petition for civil commitment, with a court document saying he was hospitalized for psychosis.
Goodermont was worried about Simmons, she told her daughters and roommate, according to her former husband, Tyler Goodermont.
“Her life ended too early,” he said Tuesday, remembering Kelli as a wonderful mother and a loving woman.
Officers responded to a 911 call just before 9 a.m. Tuesday about a report of a woman on fire in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park area. There were witnesses to the crime inside a shipping warehouse at the Superior Brokerage Services complex, said Sgt. Natalie Davis, a St. Paul police spokeswoman.
Goodermont appeared to be badly burned and was not breathing. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. Her cause of death is under investigation.
“Calls like these are absolutely shocking and devastating,” Davis said, adding that she knows “this senseless act of violence will cause ripples of grief and pain to the victim’s loved ones and family.”
Police quickly identified Simmons as the suspect, Davis said. They shared information with police in Bloomington, where Simmons lives.
At about 9:15 a.m., Bloomington firefighters and police responded to a report of a fire at Simmons’ home.
Neighbors saw a vehicle leaving the Nine Mile Creek Circle home and Bloomington officers observed it in the area. Simmons got out of the vehicle and police arrested him on suspicion of arson; police suspect he started the fire at his residence, according to Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Kimberly Clauson.
St. Paul police homicide investigators interviewed Simmons and he was booked into the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of murder.
The homicide was the 11th of the year in St. Paul.
Mental health treatment last year
Goodermont worked as a dispatcher at the warehouse business in St. Paul and Simmons as a truck driver, but they’d known each other for years, according to Simmons’ father.
Last March, Simmons “started having a psychotic break and started thinking that” Goodermont’s roommate “was a witch/devil,” and also accused Goodermont of the same and started walking around Goodermont’s home with a loaded gun, Goodermont wrote in seeking the protection order for her daughters last year.
In June, officers responded to Simmons’ home twice. Simmons “was extremely fearful that green men with guns were climbing trees in his backyard and they were going to kill him,” according to a summary in a stayed order for commitment that was filed in Hennepin County court.
Goodermont was taken to the hospital on the first call and, at the second call, Simmons was found to have a loaded long gun pointing out the back window and was also hospitalized, the document continued.
“As a result of his mental illness, (Simmons) poses a substantial likelihood of causing physical harm to others as evidenced by his recent psychotic symptoms,” the court document stated. “… However, (Simmons) has agreed to a treatment plan which includes inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment” and his treatment team believed he could “be appropriately treated” with a stayed order for commitment.
The order was stayed until last December on the condition that he remain in the hospital until housing arrangements could be made with the help of case management, that he would take all prescribed medications and not use alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, attend mental illness-chemical dependency treatment, and not use or possess firearms.
After Simmons’ arrest Tuesday, his father said he thought his son should have received more treatment and perhaps been committed for longer.
“I’m really disappointed in the system that can’t help guys like him,” Fred Simmons said.
Simmons’ past charge against Goodermont came in 2018, when Simmons had been drinking all day and thought Goodermont was flirting with a neighbor, she wrote in seeking the protection order last year. He punched her in the face, kicked her and dragged her down the street, along with punching the neighbor repeatedly, she added.
He was charged with misdemeanor domestic assault and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
The order for protection for Goodermont’s daughters was dismissed last July after Goodermont testified she felt safe and didn’t need it; she was told she could return to the court to seek another order if there were future incidents of domestic abuse, according to the order for dismissal.
Goodermont wrote in a court document that she and Simmons had been in a relationship since 2010.
Court records show Simmons was previously charged with domestic assault, apparently involving others.
After 2008 charges for interfering with a 911 call and misdemeanor domestic assault, Simmons pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He was charged in 2004 with fifth-degree domestic assault and harassing communication. Both cases against him were later dismissed when conditions were met or they expired.