A 15-year sentence awaits a motorist who barreled down a St. Paul alley in a van at 80 miles per hour while eluding police before slamming into a car and killing the other driver.
Shawn M. Konder, 27, of St. Paul, was scheduled to go on trial Monday in connection with the April 20 crash that killed Lashay Whittaker, a 41-year-old husband and father from Mounds View.
Instead of risking a guilty verdict, Konder pleaded guilty to causing death while fleeing police. Dropped were charges of third-degree murder, criminal vehicular homicide, assault and terroristic threats.
The plea agreement calls for him to serve roughly the first 10 years of his sentence in prison and the balance on supervised release. Formal sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 30.
Whittaker was a barber at the Grooming House on Selby Avenue. He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Ankquinet Whittaker, and two children, ages 8 and 14.
According to Konder’s plea and the criminal complaint:
Konder was supposed to be watching his 2-year-old son at the child’s mother’s home on the 800 block of Blair Avenue in St. Paul. A teenager also at the residence told police that Konder left the house several times and returned drunk.
Around 11 p.m., Konder and the teenager got into a fight. The child’s mother came home to the two wrestling. Konder left and then returned, wielding an 18-inch machete while demanding the return of his phone charger.
Konder got in his van and sped around the neighborhood. Meanwhile, a friend of the mother called police and said Konder was threatening to stab the child and kill her and the mother.
Konder had his headlights off as he passed three police cars before turning down an alley between University and Sherburne avenues. One officer, a block behind the van, heard a crash and saw smoke and debris in the air. One side of a garage on the 800 block of Sherburne had collapsed on top of Whittaker’s car, which was sheared in half. Whittaker was taken to a hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead.
Konder was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of a cracked sternum and broken clavicle. While heading to Regions, he laughed and said he had lost a cat-and-mouse game with police.
He admitted he had been drinking, and authorities recovered seven mini-shots of Fireball whiskey from his pants pocket.