Mpls. murder defendant rejects plea deal, will take his case to trial

  • Updated: May 23, 2012 - 7:53 PM

The second defendant in the slaying of a south Minneapolis homeowner after he confronted two burglars refused a plea deal offered by prosecutors on Wednesday and will take his case to trial.

Semaj Williams could have received a 38-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder, but he decided to stand trial for first-degree murder.

Williams, 22, of Brooklyn Park, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary for the death of Shea Stremcha, 25. Stremcha was at home asleep with his fiancé at 3 a.m. July 20 at their home in the 2900 block of 45th Avenue S. when Williams and another man, Robert Emmanuel Shelby, 28, allegedly broke in. When Stremcha grabbed a knife and went to confront the burglars, he was shot in the heart.

Shelby, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 25 and is scheduled for sentencing June 28.

Stremcha, a 2008 graduate of St. John's University, worked at Ameriprise Financial.

ABBY SIMONS

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