Payne Avenue serial rapist caught

Larry Donnell Griffin

38-year-old man faces multiple counts of criminal sexual assault

A St. Paul man has been charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in three separate rape cases along Payne Avenue.

Larry Donnell Griffin, 38, made his first appearance in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday, Nov. 10. He is being held at the Ramsey County Jail, with bail set at $450,000.

St. Paul police executed a search warrant on Nov. 8 at the Cottage Avenue address where Griffin was residing in the Hayden Heights neighborhood, across the street from the Heights Community School.

During the police search, officers found that Griffin and his girlfriend were living in a detached garage on the property and that he was not allowed to enter the home. Police also searched the tan minivan Griffin had been seen driving. He was subsequently arrested along White Bear Avenue and transported to the police station for questioning.

Griffin is being charged in three separate sexual assaults, which reportedly took place on Aug. 30, Sept.16 and Oct. 25 of this year and began along Payne Avenue.

In all three cases, authorities said DNA obtained from the female victims was found to match Griffin. Griffin previously provided a DNA sample to the Brainerd Police Department for a 2015 case.

Three assaults

In the Aug. 30 incident, a 31-year-old woman said she was walking near Cora’s Chicken on Payne Avenue when a man pulled up beside her and greeted her.

She said the man seemed nice so she asked him for a ride to her friend’s home on Edgerton Street. The victim reportedly told police that the man said his name was Larry and he gave her his phone number. Later the two communicated and according to the criminal complaint, he said he wanted to hang out.

The female victim invited him to her friend’s house, but he reportedly said he wasn’t comfortable because he was afraid her friends would try to rob him.

The man offered the female victim a ride to her boyfriend’s house, but said he needed to stop at his friend's house first. He then pulled off into an alley off Payne Avenue that was south of Cora’s Chicken and north of Phalen Boulevard.

He allegedly pulled out a handgun that he told the female victim was a .44 Magnum. He told her to move to the back of the van and take her clothes off. The victim told police that she complied because she feared for her life, and after he raped her, he offered to drop her off at her friend’s house.

The victim said the man apologized to her and said he thought she was trying to set him up to be robbed. When tracing the phone number provided to them by the victim, police said they found it belonged to Larry Donnell Griffin. When questioned by police, Griffin said he didn’t think he had sex with the victim.

In the Sept. 16 incident, a 45-year-old female victim with no shirt or bra flagged down a police officer near the intersection of Payne and Magnolia avenues. She told the patrolman she had just been raped by a man she described as being between 40 to 49 years old, around 200 pounds, between 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 5 inches tall with gold on his teeth.

According to the complaint, the woman was going to a friend’s house and went to a bus stop but then decided to walk back home.

The victim said a SUV pulled up alongside her and a man pointed a black, semi-automatic handgun at her and told her to get in the vehicle.

She said he yelled, “We are going to go party,” and drove up and down side streets until he drove into an alley off of Payne Avenue between Cook and Magnolia avenues. He allegedly then told her to take her shirt and bra off and made her perform oral sex on him.

He then penetrated her and when he was finished he told her, “Just get the f--- out of my car.” He reportedly kicked her out and took her wallet, her iPhone 4 and her duffel bag.

When questioned by police, Griffin claimed he knew the victim and that they have a mutual acquaintance and that the victim was a prostitute. He alleged he hadn’t seen her since the winter and that they never had sex.

In the Oct. 25 case, St. Paul police officers were on patrol when they saw a naked woman run across Case Avenue. They followed her, asked her if she needed help and she yelled, “No, I just got raped!”

According to the complaint, the 41-year-old victim said she had an argument with her boyfriend and walked away from him on Payne Avenue. A short while later, a tan minivan pulled up next to her and the driver asked her if she needed a ride.

She said she ignored the driver and kept walking. She then heard something behind her and a man she described as an approximately 6-foot-tall black male with a black ski mask, baseball hat and black pants on, was next to her.

He reportedly showed her that he had a small, semi-automatic handgun and told her to get into the van without screaming or drawing attention to them. She said they walked to a van she thought was parked on Geranium Avenue between Payne Avenue and Greenbrier Street.

Once in the van he told her to take all her clothes off and perform oral sex on him. She said he then raped her and when he was finished told her to get out and not look back. The victim said he refused to return her clothes, purse and laptop back.

When questioned by police, Griffin alleged he had never seen the victim and that they never had sex.

BB guns found

During the Nov. 8 search of the garage and minivan, police found a BB gun rifle, BB handgun and another BB gun. Police said they also recovered the third victim’s debit card and missing clothes.

According to court records, Griffin has an extensive criminal history of petty crimes, misdemeanors, assaults and DUIs, including three previous felony convictions.

Two felonies were for possession of cocaine in 1998 and 1999. His third felony was a theft conviction in Crow Wing County in 2012.

In addition to the rape charges, Griffin has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and two counts of aggravated robbery in the first degree. For the most serious charges, Griffin faces 30 years in prison per count.

Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto.

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