Schunk case closes with sentencing

On Tuesday, an accomplice in the 2013 murder of a U student was sentenced to 15 years.

Benjamin Farniok

After more than two years of grieving and waiting for justice, Mariana Schunk has seen both her daughter’s killer and an accomplice in the murder put behind bars.
“To some degree, it felt like I was imprisoned myself,” said Mariana Schunk, whose daughter Anarae was enrolled at the University of Minnesota when she was murdered in September of 2013.
On Tuesday, Ashley Conrade, 26, of Rosemount, Minn., was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding her ex-boyfriend Shavelle Chavez-Nelson in the stabbing death of Anarae Schunk, according to a press release from the Dakota County Attorney’s Office. 
Conrade also pleaded guilty for her connection with the death of Palagor Jobi, whom Nelson shot earlier the same night, the release said.
The original indictment against Conrade charged her with murder in the first and second degree, but she agreed to testify against Nelson last February as part of a plea deal.
Conrade was also sentenced to prison for one year and a day to be served concurrently for her part in Jobi’s death.
Nelson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Jan. 15. He was already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jobi. His guilty plea in Schunk’s case netted him another 17 years.
At the end of her sentence, Conrade will have spent 10 years in prison and another five years out of jail under supervision, said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.Schunk’s family would have preferred to get longer and more serious sentences, Backstrom said.
“It truly is one of the saddest and most egregious cases of homicide we have ever had in our community,” he said.
Backstrom said the lack of witnesses for the murder made the case more difficult to prosecute.
Anarae Schunk’s mother, Mariana, said she was not surprised by the sentence — which was laid out over a year ago — but said it was discouraging to know she wouldn’t be imprisoned for the whole sentence. She said she has little faith in the state’s supervised release program.
“No one knows if she told the truth. She certainly sounded convincing … but my daughter is dead,” she said.
Mariana Schunk said she is now turning her attention towards amending sentencing guidelines to raise minimum sentences for three-time violent offenders.
Schunk’s murder and investigation
According to court documents, Nelson, Conrade and Anarae Schunk went to Conrade’s townhome after the shooting death of Jobi outside of Nina’s Bar in Burnsville, Minn., in the early morning of Sept. 22, 2013.
Her parents reported her missing the next day. Investigators found evidence in Conrade’s home, including a tub containing a bloody blanket, plastic bags and a hacksaw with blood matching Anarae Schunk’s.
Police found her body in a ditch at the edge of a cornfield in Rice County on Sept. 30, 2013. 
An autopsy later determined Anarae Schunk suffered more than 20 stab wounds.