St. Paul man pleads guilty to fatally shooting wife after she dismissed unfounded concerns

A St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his wife at the couple’s home in 2021, telling police at the time he became angry when she didn’t take his concerns over their daughter seriously.

Johnny Ray Aldridge, 49, entered the plea Monday to second-degree intentional murder of 41-year-old Caitlin Aldridge. A trial was set to begin that day in Ramsey County District Court.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence at the low end of state guidelines, which carry a minimum of nearly 21 years in prison. His attorneys can argue for a downward departure at sentencing, which is scheduled for June 28.

Aldridge has been civilly committed as mentally ill since 2022 and is currently at Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, according to court records. He was found to be competent to stand trial in March 2023.

A call to his public defender for comment was not returned Tuesday.

Caitlin Aldridge grew up on St. Paul’s West Side and graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall in 1998 and University of Minnesota-Morris four years later, her obituary says. She worked on the youth programs team at the YWCA of Minneapolis, where she “built lasting friendships with her colleagues and young people.”

“Caitlin, known to most as Casey, was quietly tenacious, dedicated and deeply kind,” her obituary says.

Unfounded concerns

Johnny Aldridge went to the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center about 3 a.m. Sept. 28, 2021, and called 911, saying that he had killed his wife at their home in the 30 block of Winnipeg Avenue on St. Paul’s North End, according to the criminal complaint. Officers took him into custody without incident.

They found a firearm in his vehicle’s console, and Aldridge told officers it was the gun he used to shoot his wife of 11 years.

Officers found Caitlin Aldridge dead in an upstairs bedroom of the home. She had a gunshot wound to her head.

The couple’s 13-year-old daughter was home, but had slept through the incident. Police led her out of the home, shielding her from the crime scene.

Throughout interviews, Johnny Aldridge appeared to be obsessed with claims that people were trying to harm his daughter, police said. He believed his wife was somehow involved.

Aldridge told police that when he expressed his concerns to his wife, she laughed.

His wife’s “response angered Aldridge so much he shot her once in the back of the head with the gun he kept beneath his pillow,” the complaint states.

Investigators learned that Aldridge’s concerns over their daughter were unfounded.

The daughter told police Aldridge had PTSD and hadn’t been himself since he had been shot in the hand in June. He and a friend reported they were sitting in Aldridge’s garage when they saw someone shooting out the window of a passing vehicle, according to a police report. It appeared that a neighbor’s house was possibly the target, police said.

After that, he began carrying a gun, acting scared and leaving home for periods of time. He left twice during the summer, the complaint states. The daughter said he would get mad easily and that it had been hard on her mother because they had been fighting over small things the past few days, the complaint states.

Police records show Aldridge had called 911 twice on July 24 with unfounded emergencies, and an operator indicated at the time that he was possibly “a person in crisis.” He called saying he thought his wife was tracking his phone and that she was with someone who was trying to kill him. He called later, saying he believed someone might be inside the house who had kidnapped his wife.

Court records show Johnny Aldridge has been convicted of traffic violations, including eight for driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Related Articles