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Man Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Murdering Woman, Setting Fire to North St. Paul Apartment

A man has been sentenced by a Ramsey County judge for the murder of a woman in North St. Paul back in 2022. Melvin Bilbro Jr., aged 42, was convicted in February on multiple charges including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and first-degree arson in connection with the death of Shanna Renae Daniels, aged 43.

During the sentencing on Tuesday, the judge imposed a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder charge, along with a consecutive 57-month prison term for first-degree arson.

The tragic incident unfolded on August 25, 2022, when police responded to reports of a fire in a third-floor apartment on the corner of South Avenue East and 5th Street North in North St. Paul. Despite hearing cries for help, the officers were unable to enter the unit due to the smoke and flames.

After extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered Daniels’ body. An autopsy revealed that she had sustained multiple sharp force injuries and had died prior to the blaze.

Evidence found at the scene, including bloodstained items such as a pack of cigarettes, a pair of scissors, and a broken folding knife, implicated Bilbro in the crime. Witnesses identified him as Daniels’ boyfriend and reported seeing him enter the apartment before emergency services arrived.

A subsequent search of Bilbro’s apartment yielded further incriminating evidence, including items with blood traces, Daniels’ keys, and her dog, which was found covered in soot and smelling of smoke.

Melvin Bilbro Jr. will serve his prison sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, as per court records.

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