One of three men who plotted to rob a St. Paul woman last year was sentenced Wednesday to nearly two years in prison for his role in a crime that eventually led to her murder.
But the 23-month term given to Perrin Cooper Jr., 30, was stayed, and he was fully discharged from Ramsey County probation to the state of Pennsylvania to serve time for an unrelated drunken driving case. Cooper was involved in the murder of 79-year-old widow Myong Ki Gossel, who overpaid the men in cash for performing menial tasks around her home.
Cooper “provided invaluable assistance to the state,” said Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft.
Cooper pleaded guilty last December to simple robbery in exchange for testifying at the other suspects’ trials. A count of second-degree murder was dropped as part of the deal.
Cooper, Richard Joles and Kevin Reek drove to St. Paul from Indiana last year while high on methamphetamine with the intent of getting money from Gossel, who had previously paid Joles for yard work.
Cooper testified at Reek’s trial that he and Joles left Reek at a Wisconsin gas station and drove to Gossel’s house on Jan. 2, 2017. Cooper admitted that he talked Gossel into giving him a few hundred dollars. Cooper and Joles received $20,000 from Gossel in December 2016 after promising to do future tasks around her home.
Reek forced the men to take him back to Gossel’s house in the 2300 block of Nokomis Avenue, but all three abandoned their efforts once there. Evidence showed that Cooper was not at Gossel’s home when Reek later returned to ransack the house and fatally beat Gossel.
Cooper apologized Wednesday for his actions.
“I feel terrible about what happened,” Cooper said.
None of Gossel’s family members or friends attended the sentencing or provided victim impact statements to be read in court.
Cooper was given credit for 174 days he served in jail while awaiting the resolution of his Minnesota case, and he will not be required to serve any probation locally. He will be extradited to Pennsylvania.
Cooper is expected to be released from Pennsylvania custody in March 2019.
“He’s pleased with the outcome,” said Cooper’s attorney, John Chitwood. “He thinks it’s a fair outcome.”
Joles, 31, pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to first-degree aggravated robbery. Charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree murder with intent, and aiding and abetting second-degree murder without intent will be dropped. He agreed to a prison term of 12 years, and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 10.