HOPKINS, Minn. - Authorities say a Hopkins man died of "multiple chop wounds" in an attack by a former neighbor.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday identified the victim as 67-year-old John Gallagher Jr. Mitchell Hoogenakker, 24, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Squads were dispatched to a home in the 200 block of 10th Avenue North around 3:40 a.m. Friday. When they arrived, officers found Gallagher Jr. dead in the front yard.
According to the criminal complaint, Hoogenakker used a splitting maul to break into the home. He then allegedly dragged Gallagher Jr. into the front yard where he killed him. Officers found Gallagher Jr. with several wounds to his back and head, including a large hole in his skull which revealed his brain.
With the help of a K9, Hoogenakker was taken into custody at his home a block away, in the 300 block of 9th Ave. North. The splitting maul believed to be used in the crime was also recovered. The complaint states there was a blood-like substance and dark hair on it. The name "Hoogenakker" was etched onto the shaft.
In a post-Miranda statement, Hoogenakker admitted that he'd been at Gallagher Jr.'s residence and that he had hit him with an ax until he stopped breathing. Two other people were in the home at the time of the homicide but were not injured.
Police say Gallagher Jr. had filed a restraining order against Hoogenakker in late July. Those documents claim Hoogenakker taunted Gallagher Jr. from the sidewalk, yelling such things as "watch your back" and "I've got a slug for you." The same documents also claim Hoogenakker would walk by the residence in a slow, "zombie-like" fashion. Hoogenakker also etched "pedophile" into all four sides of a vehicle on Gallagher Jr.'s property as a follow-up to, what Gallagher Jr. wrote, a totally fabricated police report made in January 2017.
At one time, the two lived next door to each other. Hoogenakker had no prior criminal record, according to police. He remains in jail with an initial court appearance set for Tuesday.