Man accused of killing at Arden Hills gas station pleads to second-degree murder

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman
Lyle "Ty" Hoffman

Hoffman's trial was set to begin Feb. 17

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, accused of killing Kelly L. Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station on Aug. 11, pleaded guilty to intentional second-degree murder in Ramsey County District Court Jan. 23.

Hoffman will be sentenced by Ramsey County Judge George Stephenson on March 17. Hoffman originally plead not guilty at an Oct. 3 hearing. The Bulletin could not immediately reach his attorney for comment.

"We are pleased that the defendant plead guilty as charged today to intentional second degree murder. This plea spares the victim's family and everyone who loved Kelly Phillips the burden and uncertainty of a trial," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. 

Hoffman, 44, was arrested Sept. 11 for shooting to death his former partner, Phillips, 48, at the Holiday gas station on Highway 96 near Interstate 35W a month prior during Monday morning rush hour.

From the day of the killing, Hoffman evaded police for a month, traveling around the metro by cab and bus, allegedly robbing a TCF bank in Blaine and laundering the stolen bills at Mystic Lake Casino, before his peaceful arrest at an Arby's drive-thru in Shakopee.

Choi said he was confident Hoffman would be held accountable for the bank robbery as well.

At the time of the arrest, police officials conjectured that Hoffman was tired of being on the run, a timeline of which was pieced together using witness sightings and closed-circuit camera footage.

According to the criminal complaint, the two arrived at the gas station in Phillips' vehicle the morning of Aug. 11. Phillips ran from the car and Hoffman allegedly shot him twice at distance, then walked up and shot him in the back of the head. Hoffman fled in in the vehicle, according to the complaint, running over Phillips' body in the process.

Phillips was a vice president and general counsel at Boston Scientific as well as an owner of Lush Food Bar, a nightclub in Northeast Minneapolis. Phillips and Hoffman had previously run the club together and were once described as life partners, though both the business and romantic relationships had ended in the past couple of years. 

--Mike Munzenrider

Referenced Article: 
Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comment Here