Murder charges were filed Friday against a Woodbury, Minn. man arrested in the beating death of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy, whose body was found Feb. 24 inside a car towed to a Columbia Heights impound lot.
Alberto Prece Palmer, 23, was charged in Anoka County District Court with second-degree murder.
Investigators said Clardy posted ads for prostitution on Backpage.com, which is how she met Palmer -- her final and fatal customer. Palmer has several outstanding felony warrants for assault and kidnapping from Georgia.
Family and friends told FOX 9 News Clardy was last seen leaving her parents' house in St. Paul on Monday, Feb. 11. Those who knew her say Clardy seemed like a typical teen from a good family, but investigators say she kept a terrible secret.
"As this case began to unravel though, it became apparent that Brittany had followed a path in life that led her to prostitution," said Anoka County sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer.
According to the charges, Palmer killed Clardy in a Brooklyn Park home where he'd been staying with friends, then placed her body in her car and parked it at the nearby apartment complex.
When questioned by police, Palmer admitted to having sex with Clardy
after making contact with her through her Backpage.com ad. He said they
began to "tussle" after having sex, and that he choked her unconscious
and beat her to death with a hammer.
Clardy's body was found hidden in the back seat of the towed car, under a blanket with a distinctive pattern and several other items. Pre-paid cell phones were found in the car, which police used to find Clardy's friends, her johns and eventually Palmer
"From all the evidence in the complaint, Palmer appears to be a very dangerous man," Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said. "While nothing we do can bring Brittany Clardy back, we can and intend to hold accountable the person who we believe took her life. It is a sad day for Brittany's family and we will seek justice for her."
An Anoka County judge set unconditional bail for Palmer at $2 million. Palmer's next court appearance is scheduled for April 10 at 1 p.m.