Family members and friends of Aung Thu Bo gathered Wednesday as Steven E. Lewis was sentenced for luring Bo with a Craigslist ad, then shooting him in the head last year. Lewis was sentenced to about 24 years in prison for second-degree murder and nine years for aggravated robbery.
Lewis, 27, shot and killed the 19-year-old Hamline University student in August 2012 after a Craigslist ad listed an iPhone for sale. Lewis met Bo and his girlfriend in the parking lot of Leo's Chow Mein in St. Paul, and then told them the iPhone and charger were at his house a few blocks away.
Bo drove them to Cypress Street, with Lewis sitting in the back seat. Lewis demanded the couple's wallets and belongings, then shot Bo in the right side of his head.
Bo's sisters, Thanda and Amy Bo, said they looked up to their big brother, and that he set a good example by graduating high school and going to college. He planned to become a computer engineer.
In unusual occurrences, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Lawrence Schultz and Lewis' attorney, Murad Mohammad, both cried while addressing District Judge Marrinan, taking several minutes to compose themselves.
"I've represented a lot of bad people, and Mr. Lewis is not a good person," Mohammad said.
But, Mohammad told the judge, Lewis deserved a middle-of-the-road sentence because he was sorry for his actions and aware that he should be punished.
Schultz argued for a stiff sentence, noting that Lewis had an extensive juvenile record that prohibited him from having a gun and that he had 12 misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor and seven felony convictions. Lewis was on probation when he killed Bo, which he tried to characterize as an accident, Schultz said.
When given his chance to talk, Lewis said, "I should apologize for what happened. It was never supposed to go as far as it was."
Marrinan spoke sternly to Lewis and handed maximum sentences for each conviction, which will run concurrently.
"I appreciate your apology … but [words] don't bring him back," she said. "Mr. Lewis, you've been given another chance because you stand here alive. Take that chance."
Lewis will have to serve about 16 years before he is eligible for release. After Lewis was led away, the judge thanked Bo's family, her voice cracking with emotion.