ANOKA, Minn. — Speaking in a soft voice with his hands cuffed in front of him, a man accused of killing a Gainesville woman told a court how he came to know and eventually murder a Minnesota woman.
Prompted by questions from Anoka County District Court Judge Daniel O’Fallon, Alberto Palmer admitted to soliciting the 18-year-old St. Paul woman who was working as a prostitute to his brother’s Brooklyn Park home around noon on Feb. 11, 2013.
After they had sex, he said an argument ensued over payment.
Angry, the 23-year-old struck Brittany Clardy, 18, several times in an attempt to render her unconscious.
Then he ran to the kitchen and grabbed a hammer.
“And what did you do with that hammer,” O’Fallon asked.
“I used the hammer to hit her upside the head multiple times,” Palmer said.
“And in doing so you intended, and knew, that you would probably kill her,” O’Fallon said.
“I knew what I was doing,” Palmer said.
The Chicago native expressed no outward emotion as he recounted the events for a last-minute plea deal reached in the murder case that was expected to go to trial in early September.
The deal is contingent on him pleading guilty to first-degree murder on charges awaiting him in Hennepin County in the case of Klaressa Cook, 24, of Gainesville, found dead in May 2013.
Cook had recently moved to the area. Her mother, Regina Dean, said then that her daughter occasionally relied on prostitution to support her travels though it hasn’t yet been made clear how Palmer came to know her.
Palmer is expected to receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole in her death and about 40 crimes in Anoka County.
During the hourlong proceeding, Palmer pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder with aggravating factors in Clardy’s death.
He’d previously been indicted by an Anoka County Grand Jury with first-degree premeditated murder and also faced a charge of first-degree murder while committing sexual assault.
The sentences are to be served concurrently, ensuring Palmer will be in prison for decades to come, said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo.
“We felt out of concern for the victim’s family with everything that a trial entails, that (the plea deal) was in the best interest of justice,” Palumbo said.
He added that he couldn’t speak to why Palmer had
decided to plead.
His attorney, public defender Shawn Webb, could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
Following Clardy’s death, Palmer concealed her body in her car and drove it to a nearby apartment complex.
It was later towed to a Columbia Heights impound lot.
Cook’s body was found concealed in a car towed to a Minneapolis lot.
In the weeks that preceded his March 2013 arrest, Palmer reportedly placed dozens of calls to other women advertising their services on Backpage.com, an Internet site known for human trafficking.
He arrived in Minnesota after fleeing charges of brutally assaulting three prostitutes in Georgia, one of whom he reportedly gagged and kept trapped in a storage container in a car until the woman escaped.
He also has a criminal history in Illinois.
Palmer is expected to return to Anoka County for sentencing in late October or early November after proceeding through the Hennepin County system.
Read more of this story at TwinCities.com, the website of the Pioneer Press.