"The bottom line is, you took justice into your own hands, now the court will dispense justice," Ramsey County District Judge Margaret M. Marrinan told Evalyn Bheaanu before sentencing her in connection with a shooting last May that injured a woman, her fetus and her then-boyfriend.
Bheaanu, 26, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting second-degree assault and was sentenced Wednesday to 36, 46 and 61 months in prison. The plea agreement called for the sentences to be served concurrently, and Bheaanu could be eligible for release in a little more than three years and four months.
The shooting happened just after midnight May 18 in the 1700 block of Case Avenue on St. Paul's East Side. According to the charges, Bheaanu said she had spent the previous night in an adjacent apartment with a man named Mike. After Mike left, Bheaanu said, the pregnant woman and her boyfriend beat her up, and the boyfriend stole her money and cell phone.
Six shots rang out
The complaint said Bheaanu went to the couple's apartment and pounded on the door. While the woman inside was on the phone to 911, six shots were fired through the door.
The woman, Andrea M. Benjamin, later delivered a pre-term baby boy. Both they and the male victim, Richard M. Brown, survived.
At her plea hearing in August, Bheaanu said she didn't fire the shots but she was there and knew the man she was with had a gun. That was the first authorities had heard of a second suspect in the shooting, police and prosecutors said. No one else has been arrested in the case.
On Wednesday, Bheaanu's defense attorney, Corey Sherman, asked Judge Marrinan for a lighter sentence, saying the shooting was an isolated incident that won't happen again. Bheaanu also was a victim that night, Sherman said. She had been sexually assaulted, robbed and beaten, Sherman said.
Bullet wound in her belly
Prosecutor Yasmin Mullings disagreed, however, saying Bheaanu's "behavior was reckless in the extreme."
Benjamin also spoke, recounting how she was terrified and sick with pain after being shot and watching amniotic fluid leak out of the bullet wound in her belly.
Now, she said, she worries every day about her 5 1/2-month-old son, who is developmentally delayed because of his premature birth.
Marrinan told Bheaanu the court was in no position to decide what did or didn't happen before the shooting.
"Whether you fired the gun or not, you were there," the judge said. "You were the catalyst, the spark that started all this. ... You're as guilty as the guy who pulled the trigger."
Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551