Shooter gets 36 years for murder, girlfriend gets 15 and a tongue-lashing


A Hennepin County District Court judge sentenced Quintel Flowers to 439 months in prison for shooting a 26-year-old man in an attempted drug robbery, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Flowers was sentenced early Wednesday afternoon and a half–hour later, his accomplice, and girlfriend, Nicole Rantala, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding the second-degree murder of Larry Flowers III (no relation to the defendant). The fiancé of Larry Flowers III calmly read a poem as her victim impact statement before Quintel Flowers’ was sentenced, but then a short time later berated Rantala at her sentencing.

Flowers, 26, was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder with a sentence of life without parole if he was convicted. With the jury half-picked for his trial, he agreed to plead guilty to both second-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm and be sentenced to about 36-and-a-half years in prison.

Rantala, 32, of Minneapolis was originally charged with two counts of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, but agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder and to testify against Flowers. Hennepin County District Court Judge Fred Karasov approved the plea agreement and gave Rantala the downward departure from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines because of her willingness to testify and her lesser role in the murder.

Flowers was angry because he thought Larry Flowers had shorted him in a marijuana deal the week before and told Rantala that he planned to rob him. In the late morning of Nov. 17, they picked up Larry Flowers and were near Bryant and West Broadway Avenues when Flowers pulled out a gun and demanded all of Larry Flowers’ valuables.

The two men struggled and both got out of the car, with Larry Flowers running away. Flowers fired five shots and three of them struck the fleeing Larry Flowers, killing him almost instantly. Rantala drove them from the scene and told police she watched him throw the gun in the river. Police later found the gun in the trunk of the car.

Early in the hearing, Flowers tried to withdraw his plea, telling Karasov that “a lot of stuff was left out,” and he wanted less time. Karasov denied the request.

Larry Flowers’ aunt, Pearlene Woodrick, read a victim impact statement from the family and then one for herself.

“They say the plan was to rob Larry of his drugs and money because he had shorted the defendant the previous week,” Woodrick said. “Really? Did he have to lose his life because of it? Okay, he wasn’t an angel just like none of us are. But, he was someone’s son, somebody’s brother, a nephew, an uncle, a grandson, a cousin. Larry moved from Chicago to Minnesota to better himself, to have a chance at a better life,” and he went to school and received a certification in carpentry.

Larry Flowers’ fiancé, Clarrissa Arnold read a poem about her loss of the man she will never see or hold again.

However, when it came time to repeat their impact statements in Rantala’s sentencing, Woodrick did. But not Arnold. She called Rantala wicked and said she hoped any children she might have would someday learn about what she had done.

“Justice won’t be distributed fairly because you killed him. You should get more than 10 years,” Arnold said, referring to the two-thirds of her time that she will serve in prison. “She don’t feel no remorse. You don’t feel sorry you took someone’s son. I never get to kiss or hug him again. You still get a chance at life. Larry Flowers don’t get that.”

After she finished her impromptu impact statement, she read her poem. Twice. Then she strode out of the courtroom.