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Gunman in Megan Boken’s Murder Given Life Sentence

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Keith Esters & Johnathan Perkins

Keith Esters & Johnathan Perkins

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The teenager accused of shooting and killing a former Saint Louis University volleyball player during an attempted daytime robbery entered a guilty plea Friday.

Keith Esters, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.

Prosecutors say Esters walked up to Megan Boken, 23, on Saturday, August 18, 2012 as she was sitting in her car at the corner of Taylor and Maryland, talking to her mother on a cell phone, and demanded her phone at gunpoint.

When Boken resisted, Esters allegedly shot her twice and then fled in a car driven by his cousin, Jonathan Perkins. Perkins is still awaiting trial.

Boken was struck in the neck. She was taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where medical personnel pronounced her dead.

Esters walked into Judge Steven Ohmer’s courtroom Friday, sat down where jurors normally sit, and waved to friends and family.

Ohmer read the charges and asked Esters if he understood, he acknowleged that he did and told the court he and his cousin went to the Central West End looking for someone to rob. That’s when he saw Boken walking to her car on her cell phone.

In the guilty plea, Esters says it wasn’t Boken’s cell phone that he wanted but rather her cash and other property. When she struggled, he shot her.

Boken, a 2011 SLU graduate who played on the Billikens volleyball squad for all four years of her collegiate career, had moved to Chicago but was back in town for an alumni game.

Boken’s parents were in the courtroom to hear today’s plea and spoke at a press conference after the hearing.

“No words can express what a wonderful person she was,” Boken’s father said.

The Bokens are pushing to have cell phone companies disable phones once they are stolen.

“Everything that we’ve heard up until now, including the fact that he was following her because she had her cell phone, would indicate that he was trying to get her cell phone,” Megan’s father said.

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