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The St. Paul man who allegedly said TV told him to kill two people in a sober house pleads guilty

ST. PAUL, Min. – A man accused of the killing of two men at a sober living home in St. Paul in 2022 entered a guilty plea on Friday.

Joseph Sandoval, 34, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deadly attack on Oct. 20, 2022.

According to court documents, officers arrived at the scene at East Lawson and Jessamine avenues and saw Sandoval walking out of the home in bloody clothing, with cuts on his hands and face.

Joseph Sandoval


He allegedly told police he had used fentanyl before killing a fellow resident and a handyman inside after watching an episode of “Dragon Ball Z.” Sandoval allegedly said a voice from the show warned him that the two were going to kill him and that he should “take the opportunity” to strike first, court documents state.

Police say the victims 40-year-old Jason Murphy and 56-year-old Jon Wentzboth from St. Paul – died of multiple cuts and stab wounds.

Sandoval was also facing several misdemeanor charges in Hennepin County at the time, including assault, theft and burglary cases from 2021. However, he was released on parole after being found incompetent.

He entered a Norgaard plea in connection with the murders, meaning he pleaded guilty but could not provide a factual basis for his plea due to drug use or mental health issues at the time. He was found competent to stand trial in June 2023.

“This tragic case is a heartbreaking reminder of the limits our mental health system faces in meeting the needs of people with serious mental illness in the justice system,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “Our hearts go out to the Wentz and Murphy families who have suffered so deeply from these shortcomings.”


Mental health resources

If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can get help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

In addition, help is available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640. There are more than 600 local NAMI organizations and affiliates nationwide, many of which offer free support and education programs.

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