Megan Boken Murder: 2 teens charged in volleyball player's shooting death

August 24, 2012 (ST. LOUIS)

The Megan Boken Case begins and ends with cell phones, two of them. One led to her death. The other led to her alleged killers.

Police tell the ABC7 I-Team that Boken was targeted because she was on a cell phone. The suspects saw her as an easy mark and wanted to steal the phone. When she resisted, she was shot. THAT is cell phone number one.

The second cell phone helped police crack the case. It had been stolen in a street robbery a week earlier. Detectives traced calls on that phone to one of the suspects.

"Mr. Esters and Mr. Perkins saw Ms. Boken heading toward her car and they determined that they would rob her," said St. Louis prosecutor Jennifer Joyce. "Mr. Esters approached Ms. Boken while in her car and he attempted to grab her possessions. Mr. Esters was unsuccessful in taking her possessions and he shot Ms. Boken while he was fleeing the scene."

Two shots, one to the neck, the other to Megan Boken's chest, killing her on a side street not far from Saint Louis University, where she had graduated after a standout volleyball career. Boken had come to St. Louis to play in an alumni game.

Thursday, heavily armed St. Louis city police and county sheriff's deputies moved on the suspects' homes in nearby suburbs, arresting both with hours of each other.

They were arrested at the same time as Megan Boken was being memorialized in Wheaton. Her family and friends, several hundred miles away, mourned such a senseless loss.

The actual shooter, according to police, is Keith Esters. He was picked out of a police line-up, according to detectives, by witnesses who say they saw him run from the crime scene and get into the car driven by Jonathan Perkins, whom authorities say knew going in that they were going to steal her cell phone.

The two men are cousins, both 18 years old, both without state criminal histories -- although Esters was arrested last November after an argument over an Xbox game.

Both suspects are being held without bond.

"I don't know what makes young people decide to do something like this," said Joyce. "But, it's our job to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and that's what we are committed to do."

St. Louis Police credit the shooter's girlfriend for her cooperation. Cell calls from that stolen phone were traced to her, and police say she gave up her boyfriend, and that was a key break.

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