Man charged with murder for New Brighton strangulation death

Steven Maurice Abrams

Police arrived as girlfriend’s brother was choked 

Officers responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at an apartment in New Brighton arrived to find a man strangling another man April 14. 

Days later, on April 17, 54-year-old Steven Maurice Abrams, a Minneapolis resident, was charged with one count of second-degree murder in Ramsey County District Court for allegedly killing his longtime girlfriend’s brother.

Although police arrived as Abrams was allegedly choking 58-year-old Carlton Campbell, officers and medics were unable to revive Campbell at the scene. According to officials, Campbell was later pronounced dead at Fridley’s Unity Hospital, where he’d been taken by ambulance.

Finding neck injuries consistent with strangulation, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Campbell’s death a homicide. 

According to the criminal complaint, Abram’s girlfriend had kicked him out of her apartment in the 1400 block of 20th Avenue N.W. earlier in the day on April 14, and when he returned later that evening, Campbell let him back inside.

Once inside, the complaint says, Abrams allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, triggering Campbell to call 911 and intervene. Abram’s focus shifted to Campbell, who Abrams later said “put hands on” him. 

Abrams allegedly “threw [Campbell] around the apartment.” Once thrown down to the floor, Abrams choked Campbell “with both hands,” bouncing up and down while kneeling on top of his chest, the complaint says.

Though Campbell allegedly pleaded with Abrams, saying “Please stop, I can’t breathe,” Abrams responded to him by saying “that he did not care” and “that he was going to kill him,” according to the complaint.

Even after Campbell lost consciousness, Abrams allegedly did not stop choking him until the police arrived at the door, officials said.

Officers at the scene said Abrams appeared to be intoxicated and that he said — right before being placed in a squad car — that he had previously told his girlfriend he “was going to ... kill [Campbell].”

According to the complaint, Abrams told police he and his girlfriend had been in a relationship for 20 years. In an interview with investigators, Abrams allegedly said he choked his girlfriend’s brother because he was “tired” of him interfering in their lives. 

Abrams’ criminal history includes convictions for obstructing the legal process and assaulting a police officer, theft, disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while intoxicated.

The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison.


Jesse Poole can be reached at or at 651-748-7815. 


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