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Monday, December 5, 2022

St. Paul Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Role in Fatal Shooting at Downtown St. Paul Hotel

A West St. Paul resident was given a sentence of more than 20 years in prison on Tuesday for his part in the death of a man last year after an unsuccessful robbery in a hotel parking garage in downtown St. Paul.

In the August shooting death of Alexander Christoff, a 37-year-old White Bear Lake man who authorities said was drawn to the hotel by a prostitute, Franklin Carnelius Spriggs, 31, pleaded guilty in March to aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Spriggs was given credit for 182 days previously served in imprisonment before Ramsey County District Judge Kellie Charles sentenced him to 243 months in prison.

The suspected shooter, Anthony Melvin Lamont Curtis Pryor, 21, of St. Paul, and three other people, Tarrance Daronze Hardie, 28, of St. Paul, Danell Ann Christner, 37, of Maplewood, and Leneil James Colbert Jr., 32, of St. Cloud, are each facing murder charges in court.

According to the police, Christner, who was engaged in prostitution, picked Christoff as a wealthy target and planned for the others to rob him. When he retaliated, he was slain.

The criminal complaint claims that on August 28, Christoff and Christner met at the SpringHill Suites at 472 Jackson St. According to the allegations, when she was leaving the hotel, she got in touch with Colbert and informed him that Christoff “had a lot of money, a lot of drugs, and a great automobile.” Christoff’s hotel room number was also provided by her.

Cell tower location data showed that Colbert, Pryor, Spriggs, and Hardie were present at the same pub that evening in downtown St. Paul. The three guys reportedly received the information from Colbert, and they then drove to SpringHill Suites.

At 12:24 in the morning, Christoff drove into the garage. When the men in the Mercedes-Benz found him, he was sitting in his Audi on the third level. The three guys halted their cars, surrounded his Audi, drew their weapons, and pounded on the glass. Christoff resisted trying to unlock it.

Instead, he slammed into the Mercedes-Benz while shifting the Audi into backward. One of the males fired at the Audi, breaking a window. According to the lawsuit, Pryor fired three rounds that struck Christoff.

On the second level, a witness heard the collision, the gunshots, and then the groaning. He claimed to have discovered Christoff face down on the ground beside the open passenger door of the Audi. He said that after trying unsuccessfully to call the police, he loaded Christoff into the Audi and headed to Regions Hospital. Christoff passed away soon after.

Colbert contacted Christner once again and sent her at least 53 texts within an hour after the incident. According to the lawsuit, Christner told law enforcement that Colbert ordered her to give up her phone, sell her car, and move because “a guy may be dead.”

Pryor also made an effort to hide his tracks. The lawsuit claims that he dumped the things he had stolen from Christoff’s car along with his rifle and phone and burnt the clothes he had worn that day.

On September 14, officers discovered the Mercedes-Benz at a Hopkins car body shop, breaking the case open. The back license plate of the automobile was still visible despite it being partially covered by a tarp. The information from the automobile helped the detectives locate Pryor.

In October 2015, Spriggs was given a five-year jail term for four previous felonies going back to 2009: first-degree assault, crime for the benefit of a gang, third-degree assault, and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Hardie also entered a guilty plea to encouraging second-degree murder last month. On July 11, he will be sentenced.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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