2 more charged with murder in downtown St. Paul hotel shooting of prostitute's customer
Nov. 4—Two more suspects have been charged in the shooting death of Alexander Christoff in a downtown St. Paul hotel parking garage in August.
Police say a prostitute identified Christoff, 37, of White Bear Lake, as a wealthy target and four others conspired to rob him. He was killed when he fought back.
Danell Ann Christner, 37, of Maplewood, and Leneil James Colbert Jr. (also known as DeAnthony Simpson), 31, of St. Cloud, were charged Thursday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder.
Anthony Melvin Lamont Curtis Pryor, 20, of St. Paul is accused of shooting Christoff. He was charged in September with two counts of second-degree murder.
Tarrance Daronze Hardie (also known as Todd Leon Richards), 28, of St. Paul, was charged in October with second-degree murder.
Franklin Carnelius Spriggs, 30, of West St. Paul, has charges pending.
Christner was charged via warrant and is not in custody, the Ramsey County sheriff's office confirmed Thursday.
According to the criminal complaint, Christner knew about Christoff because he hired her as a prostitute. She met Christoff at the SpringHill Suites at 472 Jackson St. in St. Paul on Aug. 28.
As she was leaving the hotel, she contacted Colbert and told him, that Christoff "had a lot of money, a lot of drugs, and a nice car," the charges say. She also gave him Christoff's hotel room number.
Cell tower location data revealed that Colbert, Pryor, Spriggs, and Hardie were together at a bar in downtown St. Paul that night. Colbert allegedly gave the three men the information and they drove over to the Springhill Suites.
They gained access to the parking garage by piggy-backing, or driving in under the security arm immediately after a paying customer, charges say.
Christoff entered the parking garage at 12:24 a.m. He was sitting in his Audi on the third floor when the men, driving a Mercedes-Benz, found him. The three pulled up, blocked his car, pulled their guns and banged on the Audi's window. Christoff refused to open the door.
Instead, he put the Audi in reverse and crashed into the Mercedes-Benz. One of the men shot and broke the Audi's window. Pryor fired three shots, hitting Christner, the complaint states.
A witness on the second floor heard the commotion and came running. He told police he found Christoff lying face down on the ground by the Audi's open passenger door. He said he tried to call police, but the phone wasn't working, so he put Christoff into the Audi and drove to Regions Hospital. Christoff died shortly after.
Within an hour of the shooting, Colbert called Christner again and exchanged at least 53 text messages with her. Christner told law enforcement that Colbert told her to sell her car, get rid of her phone, and that she had to move because "a guy might be dead," according to the complaint.
Pryor also tried to cover his tracks. He discarded his gun and phone, burned the clothes he had worn that day and ditched the items he'd stolen from Christoff's car, the complaint states.
A break in the case came Sept. 14 when officers found the Mercedes-Benz in an auto body shop in Hopkins. The car had been partially covered by a tarp, but its rear license plate was visible. Investigators used the information from the car to find Pryor.
Spriggs has four prior felony convictions: crime for the benefit of a gang, assault in the first degree, assault in the third degree, and assault in the second degree.
Colbert and Christner each have several misdemeanor convictions, mostly for traffic violations. Colbert has one conviction for domestic abuse.
Pryor's record shows multiple misdemeanor convictions, including driving with a suspended license, disorderly conduct, theft and possession of drugs.
Hardie's record shows multiple misdemeanor convictions, mostly for driving with a revoked license, and also for drugs. He has three felony convictions for theft, illegal possession of a weapon and third-degree assault.