MOORHEAD - A teenager charged with murder in the Saturday slaying of a Moorhead man has retracted his confession and shifted responsibility onto his brother, who admitted to the killing, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Zachary St. Claire, 16, originally told police he killed 55-year-old Bradley Carrington over the weekend after three or four years of being molested by the older man. But on Thursday, St. Claire said it was his older brother, Anthony Rodriguez, who killed Carrington after St. Claire told Rodriguez about the sexual abuse.
Rodriguez, who was named as a suspect in the killing earlier this week and arrested in Fargo Wednesday, was charged Thursday in Clay County District Court with second-degree murder without intent.
Court documents say Rodriguez, 20, told police he beat up Carrington, inadvertently killing him, after seeing a distraught St. Claire come home Saturday night.
Rodriguez told police St. Claire was upset because Carrington had asked him to perform oral sex for $50. Documents say St. Claire began crying and told his brother for the first time of being sexually abused by Carrington.
Carrington’s sister, Teresa Murray of Fayetteville, N.C., has told The Forum there was no way her brother was a child molester. She said her brother talked about how much he loved St. Claire and thought of the teenager as his son.
Another of Carrington’s sisters, Melody Acosta of Belcourt, previously told the Forum her brother took care of a 16-year-old boy for a time when the boy’s parents could not. She said Carrington spoiled the boy with gifts.
After hearing St. Claire’s story of sexual abuse, Rodriguez resolved to visit Carrington at his north Moorhead trailer to “beat up” the man, but not kill him, court documents say.
St. Claire told police that after he and Rodriguez arrived at Carrington’s home on Saturday night, they all took shots of Fireball whiskey, and Rodriguez was very drunk. Rodriguez repeatedly asked Carrington if the older man had sexually abused St. Claire, and Carrington repeatedly denied the accusation.
St. Claire told police that at one point Carrington asked St. Claire to tell the truth. St. Claire responded by saying Carrington had molested him.
St. Claire told police Rodriguez told him to get out of the trailer because Rodriguez “did not want him to see what was about to happen,” court documents say.
Rodriguez told police he and Carrington continued yelling at each other and then Rodriguez punched Carrington twice in the face, leaving him slumped in a chair.
Rodriguez later exited the trailer and he and St. Claire left the scene, only to come back later to get St. Claire’s bicycle, according to court documents. While St. Claire grabbed his bike, Rodriguez went back inside the trailer, where he saw Carrington on the floor and knew the man was dead.
Rodriguez told St. Claire he punched Carrington four to six times and kicked him once, according to St. Claire’s statement to police.
St. Claire, who was charged Tuesday with first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree unpremeditated murder, told police on Thursday that he originally confessed to the killing in order to protect his brother.