A 44-year-old man admitted Thursday in court to the stabbing death last year of a woman in a Minneapolis parking ramp during a robbery.
In exchange for his guilty plea in Hennepin County District Court, Benjamin Love will serve 24 years in prison for the death of Mai Yer Cha, 31, of St. Paul, who died about a week after the July 15 attack.
Cha had just celebrated her birthday with friends at a downtown nightclub before she was stabbed, which highlighted the dangers of some downtown parking ramps.
Judge Jay Quam accepted the plea and scheduled Love’s sentencing for March 8.
Love, who was charged with second-degree murder, also pleaded guilty Thursday to a 2016 aggravated robbery at the Cedar Riverside light rail station in Minneapolis. The six-year sentence in that case will be served at the same time.
In court Thursday, defense attorney Lisa Skrzeczkoski asked Love a series of questions, walking him through the 2017 stabbing.
Love, who was a transient, followed five women whom he did not know up an elevator of parking ramp B. Once they left the elevator, Love came up behind them holding a knife and demanding their purses.
He grabbed one woman by her hair, he acknowledged, and when Cha tried to intervene, he stabbed her in the chest. She died a little over a week later.
Love’s sentence, above recommended guidelines of 16 years, is based on three convictions: a 1990 attempted murder in Texas, a 2009 aggravated robbery, also in Texas, and the 2016 light rail robbery.