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2 charged in St. Louis slaying of visiting Illinois woman

Hundreds of friends and family remember a former college volleyball star killed during apparent robbery in St. Louis. WMAQ's Michelle Relerford reports.

Two 18-year-old St. Louis-area men were charged with murder Friday in the killing of Megan Boken, a 23-year-old Wheaton, Ill., woman who was in town last weekend for a job interview and college reunion volleyball game.

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Keith Esters and Johnathan Perkins

Keith Esters of Bel-Ridge was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and attempted first-degree robbery. Johnathon T. Perkins of St. Louis was charged with second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and attempted second-degree robbery.


St. Louis prosecutor Jennifer M. Joyce first announced the charges and identified the suspects on Twitter Friday, a day after police said they had two suspects in custody.

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Police in a probable cause statement said Boken, a former St. Louis University volleyball player who graduated in 2011, was sitting in her car when she was shot two times in the neck and chest by Esters, who they say admitted to them he planned to rob Boken after he saw her talking on a cellphone Saturday afternoon in the city’s Central West End. The reunion game was scheduled two hours later, area media outlets reported.

Perkins, police said, drove Esters to and from the crime scene.

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Saint Louis University volleyball player Megan Boken warms up before a match in 2010.

Perkins also told investigators that Esters had told him he shot Boken, police said.

A cellphone stolen in an armed robbery days before the Boken killing aided police in their investigation, they said. The cellphone theft investigation, police said, led to Esters’ girlfriend, who told officers that Esters admitted the killing to her.

She said Esters and Perkins are cousins, police said.

Police also said a witness identified Esters running from the scene.

A funeral for Boken was held Thursday in Wheaton.

"She was everything, she was one of my best friends, she was always happy, always in a great mood, always willing to help me out. She'll be missed dearly," David Bruckner, outside the funeral home, told NBCChicago.com.

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Megan's father, Paul Boken, released the following statement Thursday:

"I understand that the St Louis Police Department apprehended several suspects in this case. We are gratified with the progress in this case and with the efforts of the St Louis Police Department. We also are very appreciative of the efforts of several people in the Central West End who came to our daughter Megan's aid after the incident. I would like to thank the St Louis Police Department for their hard work and those individuals who have come forward to assist in this case.

"I would like to thank the communities of St Michael's Catholic Church, St Francis High School and Saint Louis University who have been so supportive of our family over the last several days. The services for our daughter took place simultaneously in Wheaton, Illinois at St Michael's and at Saint Louis University, and were of great comfort to our family."

This article includes reporting by NBC News' Jim Gold.

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