Nov. 6, 2022

Anarae Schunk and Palagor Jobi // 136

Anarae Schunk and Palagor Jobi // 136

Palagor Jobi was shot to death outside of Nina's Bar in Burnsville, Minnesota, on September 21st, 2013, by Shavelle Chavez-Nelson.  On the same night, Shavelle and his girlfriend, Ashley conrade were involved in the gruesome murder of his ex-girlfriend Anarae Schunk.    



At approximately 11:30 PM on September 21st, 2013, Palagor Jobi went to Nina's Bar and Grill in Burnsville, Minnesota with two of his cousins, a friend, and an uncle. Shortly before 1 AM, Shavelle Chavez (shah-vez)-Nelson arrived to at the bar in a white Ford Fusion with two women. Just before 2 AM, Palagor left the bar and was standing outside the entrance smoking a cigarette. Shortly after this, Shavelle and his girlfriend, Ashley Conrade walked outside to smoke and they were standing on the sidewalk near Palagor. Shavelle and Palagor did not know each other.

Several minutes later, Palagor told Ashley that she looked beautiful and Shavelle overheard the comment, got angry, and approached him. Shavelle asked him why he was talking to his girlfriend and Palagor shot back with, “If she's your girlfriend, why is she standing alone?” Palagor's cousin jumped in and attempted to calm things down and Shavelle walked down the sidewalk and stood with another group of people about 10 feet away. 

After a short time, Shavelle left the group he was with and walked towards Palagor. His girlfriend Ashley grabbed his arm and tried to stop him from walking away, but he shook her off and continued on his mission. The two men faced each other and in the court documents, it says they “squared up” and began arguing. Palagor punched Shavelle in the face. After this, Shavelle spun away from Palagor and was then standing on the sidewalk near the driver's side headlight of an SUV that was parked in front of Nina's Bar.

A witness who owned the SUV started walking towards her car and unlocked it. When the witness opened her car door, Shavelle pulled a gun from his waistband and started shooting. He fired 2-3 shots at Palagor and all of them missed. Palagor ran along the passenger side and around the back of the witnesses SUV and the girl jumped in her vehicle and hid. She testified that she saw someone run down the passenger side of her SUV and her vehicle started shaking, so she assumed there was a struggle on the driver's side of her vehicle. She then heard several shots and Palagor fell to the ground.

So, there initially was 2-3 shots, then the people involved were running, there was a scuffle, a pause, and more shots. This time, there were about 5-6 shots, one after the other. After the shooting, Shavelle was standing over Palagor with the gun pointed down at his body. Palagor's cousin tackled him to the ground and during the struggle, the gun went off, but the cousin was able to get the gun out of his hand and an unidentified individual pulled the two of them apart and Shavelle was able to flee the scene in his girlfriend Ashley's vehicle.

When police arrived, they found Palagor lying face-down on the driver's side of the SUV in a pool of his own blood and he was declared dead at the scene. It was determined that at least 9 shots were fired at the scene. One bullet and one bullet fragment were on the parking lot pavement under Palagor's head and the crime scene investigator identified four impact points from the bullets in the asphalt surface of the parking lot under his head. During the autopsy, the medical examiner determined that Palagor had suffered 8 gunshot wounds that were the cause of death and he had a blood alcohol content of .26.

Two of the gunshot wounds were front entry wounds and one was to the hip and the other was to the forehead. The medical examiner found 6 other entry wounds to the back of Palagor's body. Four of the back entry wounds were to his head, one was to his back just below the neck, and the other was to his left shoulder. Four of the back entry wounds, including three of the wounds to the back of his head were compatible with a “shored wound.” The medical examiner testified that the shored wounds were consistent with Palagor's body being in direct contact with the parking lot pavement at the time the bullets left his body. He's saying that the wounds indicate that Shavelle was standing over Palagor's body when firing the six shots, but the examiner can't be certain that he was on the ground during all of these wounds.

When police initially tried to pick up Shavelle, they saw him leaving his girlfriend Ashley's town home in her white Ford Fusion. They attempted to stop him and he started to pull over, but ended up speeding away and leading the police on a high-speed chase through a residential area. He abandoned the car and was apprehended on foot. Police searched the area where he was arrested and found a 9 millimeter pistol, a magazine for a pistol, and a baseball cap. The pistol and magazine were submitted to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or BCA lab for analysis. Testing by the BCA determined that all 9 of the cartridge casings recovered from the scene of Palagor's murder came from the pistol they found during Shavelle's arrest. All of the bullets or fragments from the crime scene and autopsy were either confirmed to have been fired from the pistol they found or they were not suitable for testing.

The BCA was able to do DNA testing on several items from the crime scene and from the scene of the arrest. Blood was found on the outside of a black ice-scraper mitten and it matched Palagor's DNA profile, but it did not match Shavelle's or Ashley's. 

Shavelle was found guilty of first degree premeditated murder and second degree intentional murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Palagor Jobi on September 22nd, 2013. The victim died outside of Nina's Bar from multiple gunshot wounds. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said, “There was some pushing and shoving and then Nelson pulled out a gun and shot him several times. We are pleased to have brought Shavelle, Chavez-Nelson to justice for this senseless and violent crime that took the life of Palagor Jobi. Our deep sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Palagor Jobi for their great loss.”

Shavelle's girlfriend Ashley Conrade was asked if she was aware that he owned a handgun prior to the night of the murder and she said, “The first time I had seen his gun was after he had abused me.” It's actually stated in the documents that Shavelle's defense team went out of their way to prepare the jury for the fact that he is a womanizer who committed “really bad acts” and that the jury probably wouldn't like him.

The trial lasted one week and the jury deliberated for about two hours the judge issued the sentence. The district court convicted Shavelle of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of release. Shavelle has appealed his conviction and claimed that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated; that the district court committed errors that, either individually or taken together, denied him a fair trial; and that the district court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of first-degree manslaughter. Let's go through his grievances.

  1. After he was arrested, he was appointed two attorneys from the public defender's office to represent him. Just 6 days prior to the trial which was set to begin on October 27th, 2014, Shavelle informed the court that he discharged his counsel and was going to retain private counsel, so he requested a continuance which the court denied because the case had already been pushed once and he never said he was dissatisfied with his attorneys previously.
  2. He discharged his public defense team because he disagreed with their decision not to call an expert witness to testify and because one of them said she hated the way Shavelle treated women. The court said this is not an exceptional reason to discharge his counsel.
  3. Shavelle attempted to get a private attorney between October 23rd and the 27th after he was told they wouldn't push the trial, but he couldn't get anyone on such short notice. The court appointed two attorneys to serve as advisory counsel, but he said he would rather represent himself.
  4. Jury selection began on October 27th and they began by filling out a detailed questionnaire, but no jury questioning was actually conducted. On the morning of the 28th, Shavelle asked that the district court order his advisory counsel to assume full representation for his case, but they denied this request. The court believed he was attempting to use the advisory-counsel mechanism to obtain substitute counsel after the district court specifically ruled that he wasn't entitled to this. He wasn't allowed to obtain substitute counsel at the state's expense via the advisory-counsel rule. They did let him know that they could reappoint his original public defenders at any time.
  5. On October 30th, Shavelle requested to get his original counsel reappointed to represent him. This was granted on October 31st at the end of jury selection and they were granted a short continuance to prepare for trial.

On the same night that Palagor Jobi was murdered, Shavelle was involved in another gruesome murder and he didn't act alone. His girlfriend, Ashley Conrade accepted a plea deal in February of 2015 to testify against him in the case of Anarae Schunk, Shavelle's ex-girlfriend. Shavelle ended up pleading guilty to second-degree murder and even though he is already spending life in prison for Palagor's murder, he got an additional 17 years added to his sentence.

Prosecutros accepted the plea agreement for the murder of Anarae Schunk to spare her loved ones the trauma of a “lengthy and difficult trial,” according to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. During an interview, Attorney James Backstrom said the killing “broke the hearts of many people in our community.” He said, “This was one of the most egregious cases of homicide that's ever occurred in our county. Am I disappointed that we did not obtain a stronger murder conviction? The answer is yes and no.”

Shavelle is 33-years-old and he is imprisoned for life on first and second-degree murder convictions for the murder of Palagor Jobi. The attorney continued to say, “With that in mind, we're not going to be able to put him in prison any longer. But I did believe it was important for Anarae's family, for our community, and for justice that he also admit to a murder offense related to Anarae's death. And that's what occurred. I accepted the plea, with the support of Anarae's family, to avoid a lengthy and difficult trial.”

Ashley Conrade received one year and one day in prison, to be served concurrently, in connection with the death of Palagor Jobi. She plead guilty to aiding an offender after the fact in both cases and she spent 592 days in jail, so she got credit for that and the state law requires that she serve two-thirds of her sentence behind bars, so that means she could serve less than 9 years for her part in this. She was convicted of one felony count of aiding an offender. Her defense attorney described an abusive relationship between her and Shavelle where they said Shavelle was mentally and physically abusive, that he controlled Ashley and crippled her with fear.

If this had moved forward and gone to trial, there would have been one piece of evidence that would be inadmissible under Minnesota's marital privilege law. Shavelle's estranged wife said that he admitted his guilt to her, but they were still married because she said she just never got around to filing for divorce. So, this confession would not be something they could have used.

Anarae Schunk was a University of Minnesota student from Burnsville and she briefly dated Shavelle in the summer of 2012 after meeting him at a bust stop. She ended up with him and his current girlfriend Ashley at Nina's Bar and it's stated in the Star Tribune that she was trying to reclaim a debt that Shavelle owed her. Friends and family say that she lent him $5,000 while they were dating and she wanted her money back. We already went through the fight between Palagor and Shavelle that resulted in murder. After this happened, Shavelle, Ashley, and Anarae went to Ashley's town home in Rosemount and a neighbor was the last to see Anarae alive early on the morning of September 22nd.

Ashley admitted that she saw Anarae's body lying on the kitchen floor when she returned home from work that day and the confession only came after police told her they found blood evidence in her home. 25-year-old Ashley said she helped Shavelle dispose of Anarae's body and they cleaned the kitchen with bleach. 

Family members of Anarae's say that she was last seen on surveillance video walking into Nina's Grill with her ex-boyfriend, 31-year-old Shavelle Oscar Chavez-Nelson. Anarae was wearing a white zip up jacket with a University of Minnesota logo on the front. 

Her family knew something was wrong because she hadn't contacted them for days and they say this is very unusual. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says that Anarae's social media had become inactive. Her older brother, Owen, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his sister broke up with Shavelle after she learned he was living with the mother of his child. Her brother Owen said, “My feeling of him was never positive, that's likely shared by the rest of our family.”

Her family spent more than a week searching, but on September 29th, her naked body was found in a roadside ditch in Rice County. Authorities discovered a jacket in a St. Paul apartment that was covered in blood and had roughly 20 puncture marks and they also found a knife on the roof of this apartment building. Her body had been stabbed more than 22 times. She had severed arteries and her wounds were described as defensive and someone had tried, unsuccessfully, to burn her body. 

Anarae's family have said that she was an uncommonly trusting person and she befriended Shavelle even though he had a lengthy criminal record and she hoped that she could help him turn his life around. She met him while living in Minneapolis. She excelled in competitive chess at Metcalf Junior High and Burnsville High and continued to help coach the Metcalf team after graduation.

HuffPost Crime Reporter David Lohr wrote the following: Anarae Schunk, a popular junior studying sociology at the University of Minnesota, had many friends and was active online. On her Facebook profile she wrote “Leave something for someone to learn and do better.”