A Dakota County jury has convicted a Brooklyn Park man who fatally stabbed a woman in her Eagan apartment, an attack that also killed her nearly full-term fetus.

The attorney’s office said Vern Jason Mouelle, 24, was convicted Monday of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the January death of 25-year-old Senicha Marie Lessman.

Judge Erica MacDonald sentenced Mouelle to two consecutive terms of life without parole after the jury deliberated for approximately four hours, the attorney’s office said.

“We are pleased to have brought Vern Mouelle to justice for this horrific crime which tragically claimed the life of Senicha Lessman and her unborn child. Our deep sympathy is extended to the victim’s family and friends,” said County Attorney James Backstrom.

According to charges, Lessman’s mother found her daughter in the bedroom naked, unconscious and unresponsive with a bloody cloth stuffed into her mouth. Responding officers tried to revive Lessman, and also tried to save her son.

Lessman’s mother identified Mouelle as the baby’s father. A neighbor alerted police to an SUV that had been parked outside her residence, which was registered to Mouelle’s father, according to charges.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and found a store receipt for a pocket knife that had been purchased earlier that day, a bloody trash can and bloody women’s clothing.

Karen Zamora