Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cousins Charged in CWE Murder; Both Teens Admitted Their Roles to Police; Neither Has a Felony Record [Corrected 09/07/12]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cousins Charged in CWE Murder; Both Teens Admitted Their Roles to Police; Neither Has a Felony Record [Corrected 09/07/12]

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - A man with a gun and a plan to rob someone in broad daylight on a Central West End street thought he saw an easy victim in Megan Boken as she talked on a cellphone to her mother, officials said Friday.

But she wasn't an easy mark at all.

She resisted. Her purse strap broke as she struggled with him from inside her parked car at Maryland and Taylor avenues about 2:20 p.m. Aug. 18. So he shot her. Twice. Once in the neck and once in the chest.

The gunman was Keith V. Esters, 18, and his getaway driver, waiting nearby, was his cousin, Johnathan Terrell Perkins, the same age, according to murder charges filed Friday afternoon. Both admitted their roles to detectives; neither has a felony record.

A witness positively identified Esters as the man who ran from the shooting, officials said.

"This was a disturbing case for a lot of people because it was so random and in a part of town we normally don't associate with crime," Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said in announcing the charges. "But this murder was handled the same way with this police department as every other homicide. They stayed up for hours on end following every lead."

Joyce also said, "I commend the people who saw what happened and told the police so quickly."

Police sources have said that detectives checking calls made on a cellphone stolen in a street robbery Aug. 10 tracked one to a woman who said that Esters, her boyfriend, told her he had shot Boken. Esters and Perkins were subsequently arrested.

Boken, 23, of Wheaton, Ill., was a graduate of St. Louis University and was in town for job interviews and to play in a reunion game with her college volleyball team.

Joyce's office charged Esters, of the 3300 block of Welsberg Drive in Bel Ridge, with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action.

Perkins, of the 1400 block of Wibracht Place in Overland, was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action.

Joyce said Friday that it was "premature" to comment on whether she would seek a death sentence for Esters. If he is convicted, the only alternative is life in prison without parole. …

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