Two women plead guilty in fatal Bloomington drug robbery

Monday,

Two suburban women pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before their trial was to begin in the fatal shooting of a Bloomington man, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Megan Cater, 19, of Lakeville and Briana Martinson, 21, of Prior Lake will be sentenced April 6. The defense attorneys and prosecution will argue the length of the sentences, but they will be between 128 and 198 months in prison.

In pleading guilty, they join their co-defendants Tarrance Murphy, Alec Streit and Maurice Verser in giving up their right to go to trial. Only Noah Peterson is awaiting trial and that has been set for April 2. A grand jury indicted all six people on first-degree murder charges in the death of 19-year-old Corey Elder in his Bloomington apartment. Had they been convicted on that charge, they would automatically be sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole after 30 years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Cater and Martinson regularly bought illegal drugs from Elder. They believed Elder and his girlfriend stole a bottle of prescription pills from Martinson, so they decided they wanted to burglarize his apartment and steal his drugs in retaliation. So they contacted Peterson, who then contacted Streit, to help them.

Peterson contacted Murphy who agreed to help and he, in turn, got in touch with Verser because he would be able to provide a gun, the complaint states.

On the night of April 27, the two women admitted they knocked on Elder’s apartment door at 6800 West Old Shakopee Road and when he opened it, they rushed in calling him a liar. Murphy and Verser then came in through the open door and began roughing up Elder while the women ransacked the apartment looking for drugs.
 
Eventually, Verser dragged Elder into the bedroom, threw him on the bed next to his girlfriend and fired one shot into his neck, killing him. The four fled the apartment and rejoined Streit and Peterson in the two cars in which they had arrived.

At their plea hearing Monday morning, Cater quietly agreed to give up her right to a trial and admitted the facts of what happened that night.

When it was Martinson’s turn, she wanted to continue using the defense that her attorney was going to present at the trial,that she participated only under duress.

However, Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Therese Galatowitsch read some of Martinson’s text messages which had her asking Streit if they had a gun in case it was necessary. In another text, Martinson said she laughed when discussing that the gun would be used to pistol-whip Elder, Galatowitsch said in court. Martinson also admitted that she had participated in planning the burglary and physical violence that ultimately ended in Elder’s death.