MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 26-year-old Rosemount woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday for aiding in the September 2013 stabbing death of Anarae Schunk.
Ashley Marie Conrade was also sentenced to one year and one day in prison, to be served concurrently, in connection with the death of Palagor Jobi. Conrade pleaded guilty on Saturday to aiding an offender after the fact in both cases, where Shavelle Chavez-Nelson already pleaded guilty to murder. Conrade agreed to testify in the trial against Chavez-Nelson, which resulted in his guilty plea on Jan. 15.
According to court documents, Jobi was shot to death in the early-morning hours of Sept. 22, 2013, outside Nina’s Bar and Grill in Burnsville. Schunk was reported missing the next day by her family, and an investigation showed she was with Conrade and Chavez-Nelson at the time of the shooting.
Investigators determined the three returned to Conrade’s townhome in Rosemount after the shooting. Evidence gathered in the investigation showed Schunk, a University of Minnesota student at the time, was stabbed to death in the early-morning hours of Sept. 22 at Conrade’s town home. Authorities found Schunk’s body on Sept. 30 at the edge of a cornfield next to a ditch in rural Rice County.
Schunk, who was a former girlfriend of Chavez-Nelson, was with him that night in an attempt to collect a debt. According to court documents, she was stabbed as many as 22 times before her body was dumped in the field.
Chavez-Nelson and Conrade were indicted in the incident on July 29, 2014, for first-degree and second-degree murder in connection with Schunk’s death. Chavez Nelson pleaded guilty on Jan. 15 to one count of second-degree unintentional murder and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Chavez-Nelson is also serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in connection with Jobi’s death.
During Conrade’s sentencing in Dakota County Court, the 26-year-old tearfully apologized to both victims’ families.
“I wish I could take your families pain away,” Conrade said, “I thought I was next and until this day I truly wish that I was.”
Conrade and her defense attorney described an abusive relationship between Conrade and Nelson. Conrade said Nelson was so mentally and physically abusive that he controlled her and crippled her with fear.
Prosecutors argued Conrade had plenty of opportunities to call the police and tell the truth after the murder.
Conrade said she was fond of Anarae Schunk, whose family says also dated Nelson briefly after meeting him at a bus stop in 2012.
“Her face is permanently etched in my memories,” Conrade said.
Ultimately, Dakota County Judge Kathryn Messerich told Conrade she should have come forward and alerted authorities immediately after Nelson killed Schunk.
Anarae Schunks’ mother, Mariana, gave a witness impact statement in which she expressed dissatisfaction with the slow-moving legal system and called Conrade a knowing accomplice in a “wicked scheme.”
The Schunk’s expressed gratitude toward law enforcement and the attorneys who helped them get through the 2-and-a-half years since Anarae was killed.