Two 18-year-old cousins have been charged in the murder of Megan Boken, a former volleyball college star who was shot to death inside her car during a botched robbery. Keith Esters, of Bel Ridge, and Johnathan Perkins, of St. Louis, were charged in the death of the 23-year-old, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said. Esters was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action. Perkins was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted robbery and armed criminal action. Boken, a 2011 St Louis University graduate, was found with gunshot wounds to the neck and chest right before she was due to play an annual alumni game at Saint Louis University in Missouri last Saturday. The probable cause statement said investigators were led to Esters and Perkins by a cellphone that was connected to another robbery in the same area. ‘That investigation led to a witness who stated that her boyfriend, Keith Esters, admitted to her that he was involved in the shooting of Ms. Boken,’ the statement said. ‘The witness also stated that her boyfriend and his cousin, Johnathan Perkins, made plans to drive to the Central West End and commit a robbery. Perkins also told police that Esters saw Boken speaking on her cellphone and decided she ‘would be the target of the robbery,’ according to the statement from police.
She was killed during the course of the robbery, the statement said. Steve Capizzi, assistant circuit attorney, said Friday that both suspects would likely be arraigned early next week, and that it appeared neither had previous records in Missouri. Capizzi also said the circuit attorney’s office has been in contact with the Boken family, who are ‘still in a state of remorse and shock.’ Boken’s family said in a statement released Thursday after the suspects were arrested they were ‘gratified with the progress in this case and with the efforts of the St Louis Police Department.’ Boken was buried Thursday in Wheaton. Boken graduated from the school last year with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduating, Boken moved back home to the quiet Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois, where she worked for a financial adviser. She returned to St Louis, which has the second-highest murder rate in the nation, last weekend to play alongside her college teammates in a game against the current players. KPLR-TV reported that Boken was found in her Volkswagen about 2pm on Saturday in the parking lot of an apartment building where she lived when she attended St Louis University. She was rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds to her chest and neck, but died on arrival. Boken’s family issued a statement saying: ‘Megan was a wonderful and beautiful human being loved by everyone she met. The family and the community are devastated by this senseless tragedy.’ Both suspects have been in custody without bond since Thursday. Online court documents did not list lawyers for either suspect.