Wyndale Fayson charged in Vanessa Danielson's death by burning

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Hennepin County

 Wyndale Fayson was charged Friday afternoon in the horrific burning death of Vanessa Danielson, an on-again-off-again-girlfriend he was already in trouble for abusing.

Fayson also burned himself in the incident, which occurred early Thursday morning on the 2900 block of Taylor Street in northeast Minneapolis. 

Fayson, 32, has an extensive criminal record, with prior convictions for indecent exposure, trespassing, and numerous charges and convictions related to domestic abuse, including one case in which he'd violated an order for protection taken out against him.

Danielson got a court-mandated no-contact order against Fayson after an incident in July, where he strangled and beat Danielson, then his girlfriend of over two years, the Star Tribune reports. Fayson pleaded guilty for that crime, and Danielson "took him back" after his release from jail, though he was still set to be sentenced for hurting her later this month.

Danielson's mother told the Star Tribune her daughter suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, which affected her decision making, and made her "very trusting" and "easily manipulated." 

Police were actually called to the murder scene twice on Thursday morning. The first time, close to 3:00 a.m., Danielson told them Fayson -- whom she described as her current boyfriend -- had come to her house, accused her of "cheating on him," and threatened her, according to the criminal complaint. 

Fayson destroyed Danielson's phone and told her he would "set the place on fire," the complaint states, even explaining that he would use a gasoline can to start the fire, before leaving the house. Police looked for Fayson in the area but could not find him, and then left themselves.

Less than four hours later, cops were back, this time on a report that a woman was screaming. Responding officers saw the upstairs unit of the duplex Danielson lived in was on fire, and saw her lying next to the street, "severely burned over her entire body." Danielson told paramedics she had been sleeping in bed when she awoke to a fire; she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Her downstairs neighbor in the duplex later told police that he'd had to call 911 repeatedly in the past for incidents involing Fayson, according to the complaint. He had called the police earlier that night after hearing Danielson say Fayson was going to "kill [her]," and "burn [her] T.V. down." Later, the neighbor awoke to the smell of smoke, and sounds of Danielson screaming. 

After fleeing outside, the neighbor saw Danielson emerge from "on fire from head to toe," and fall down the duplex steps. He covered her in a blanket and rolled her to extinguish the fire.

After police arrived, they found Fayson several blocks away from Danielson's place, and badly burned himself. He was heard saying he "should not have gone back to [Danielson's] house." As of Friday, Fayson was still in the hospital receiving treatment. Because of his condition, no hearing date has been set in his case.

The charge of second-degree murder with intent carries a minimum sentence of one year and one day in prison.


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