Update: Kelly Kocurek homicide trial

Posted 3/2/22

Kyle Williams found incompetent to stand trial By Bruce Karnick [email protected] On May 18,2021, the Hastings community was shocked to learn of an alleged murder that took place within the …

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Update: Kelly Kocurek homicide trial


Kyle Williams found incompetent to stand trial

By Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

On May 18,2021, the Hastings community was shocked to learn of an alleged murder that took place within the city.

Kelly Kocurek was staying at the Corate 1 Inn and Suites on Vermillion Street for a few days waiting to go to an inpatient treatment facility. She called her mother to bring her a suitcase she had left at home.

When her mother arrived at the hotel, Kocurek was accompanied by her boyfriend, Kyle Steven Williams, age 33, of Red Wing.

After an exchange where Kocurek’s mother expressed her desire that Williams not be there, she left. On the drive home, she received a call from Williams that Kocurek was not breathing, and she rushed back to be with her daughter. Less than a week later, Kocurek was pronounced dead. Her mother reported seeing Kocurek lying motionless in the hospital leading up to her death looking like she had been severely beaten repeatedly with several bruises on her face and neck.

A lengthy autopsy was performed by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined that Kocurek’s death was a homicide, and she died from asphyxiation. Notes from the Medical Examiner included details of several injuries that could not be self-inflicted, including facial fractures and facial hemorrhages and hemorrhages in both eyes.

During the initial Investigation, witnesses at the hotel reported hearing “wrestling or fighting” before Williams was seen running in the hallway with blood on him.

According to the criminal complaint, Williams had given several different accounts of the events to investigators but had always stuck with the story that Kocurek strangled herself with a cord.

Williams had left the state before charges were filed, and the charge of second-degree murder was issued in October of 2021. The warrant for Williams’s arrest was executed in Arizona and he was returned to Minnesota to stand trial for the homicide of Kocurek.

According to an email from Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena, “the court had previously ordered a court appointed examiner to conduct an examination of Mr. Williams to determine whether he is competent to proceed under Rule 20.01 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure. The court-appointed examiner filed a report with the court and based on the report.

See KOCUREK, Page 2

Kyle Williams the court found on Feb. 25 that Mr. Williams is currently incompetent to proceed due to mental illness. Under Rule 20.01, the criminal case must be suspended until such time he is restored to competency. Another examination will be conducted, and a report will be filed prior to the next hearing date.”

The email continued, “In the meantime, our office filed a mentally ill and dangerous petition to have Mr. Williams committed to a secure, locked unit of a Minnesota Regional Treatment Center such as the one located in St. Peter. This petition was filed in probate court and granted by Judge Tim Wermager. Mr. Williams will be transferred to such a facility when an opening is available. While there, Mr. Williams will receive treatment in an attempt to restore him to competency. Once competency is restored, the criminal case will again move forward. It is unknown how long this may take as it will depend on how Mr. Williams progresses in treatment.”

The family of Kocurek has had their patience tested during this entire process. First, the investigation took four months to be able to bring about charges. Once charges were made, Williams had already fled the state and needed to be found. The attorneys did not want Kocurek’s body released, so they still have not done a proper memorial for her.

“It's been devastating. You know, our family will never ever be the same. You know, the pain, it hurts, it hurts so bad. It's hard to describe. I know, my heart just breaks for my mother-inlaw. She's just absolutely devastated. And I see it all over her face, you know, she just doesn't look good,” explained Deanna Dahl.

Dahl also explained how thankful they have been for the support from the community, the Hastings Police Department, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the County Attorneys office, including their victim advocate.

“I don't know if anybody knew it or not, we haven't been able to get Kelly's body back. We were able to, as they call it, we were able to borrow her body for a service and it had to be brought back to Regions Hospital. Thank God today, Kyle Williams’ attorney released her body to us. And we are so so thankful for that. So, we will be getting Kelly home and we just couldn't be happier,” added Dahl.

Out of tragedy, out of sadness, out of loss, can come something good, Dahl explained.

“I would say what I could take that is good from my own personal experience is that we've learned so much together as a family about domestic violence. And because we all have girls, my mother-in-law has all girls for grandchildren besides one grandson. And so, the kids have really learned what kind of signs to look for, and what not to accept in a relationship, which is important. And drug abuse was something that I really looked at Kelly, in a disgusting manner, if I'm going to be honest here. I grew up with drugs around me my whole life, so I just never had time nor the patience for it. I see drug abuse in a different light. Now I totally see it as a disease. It's not a choice. I would say that's definitely something I learned to from the situation. And in realizing how many women have died from domestic violence just in Minnesota is so heart wrenching. I can't explain. It’s like when you first buy a car and you never saw this car before. But once you have it, you see everybody that has it. Yeah, it's like with Kelly. I see domestic violence everywhere I look now. That's been a learning experience. I've given to the Lewis House here in Hastings. I've donated food and clothes and my services, I've offered to volunteer. We are hoping to continue on with Kelly's story and educating people.”

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, the number to call is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). The hotline is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. They can provide life saving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse.