A St. Paul man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 14 years in prison for his role in last year’s killing of a man during a botched robbery in a downtown hotel parking garage.
Tarrance Daronze Hardie, 28, pleaded guilty in May to aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the shooting death of Alexander Christoff, a 37-year-old White Bear Lake man who prosecutors say was lured to the hotel by a prostitute.
Ramsey County District Judge Adam Yang sentenced Hardie to 171 months in prison, while also giving him credit for 263 days already served in custody.
Murder cases are pending against the alleged gunman — Anthony Melvin Lamont Curtis Pryor, 21, of St. Paul — and two others who prosecutors say had roles in the killing: Danell Ann Christner, 37, of Maplewood; and Leneil James Colbert Jr., 32, of St. Cloud.
Last month, Franklin Carnelius Spriggs, 31, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for the Aug. 28, 2021, murder.
Police say Christner, who was working as a prostitute, identified Christoff as a wealthy target and the others conspired to rob him. He was killed when he fought back.
According to the criminal complaint, Christoff met Christner at SpringHill Suites at 472 Jackson St. As she was leaving the hotel, she contacted Colbert and told him that Christoff “had a lot of money, a lot of drugs and a nice car,” the charges say. She also gave him Christoff’s hotel room number.
Cell tower location data revealed that Colbert, Pryor, Spriggs and Hardie were together at downtown St. Paul bar that night. Colbert allegedly gave the three men the information and they drove over to SpringHill Suites.
Christoff entered the parking garage at 12:24 a.m. He was sitting in his Audi on the third floor when the men, driving a Mercedes-Benz, found him. The three men pulled up, blocked his car, pulled their guns and banged on the Audi’s window. Christoff refused to open the door.
Instead, he put the Audi in reverse and crashed into the Mercedes-Benz. One of the men shot and broke the Audi’s window. Pryor fired three shots, hitting Christoff, the complaint states.
A witness on the second floor heard the crash, gunshots and then moaning. He told police he found Christoff lying face down on the ground by the Audi’s open passenger door. He said he tried to call police, but the phone wasn’t working, so he put Christoff into the Audi and drove to nearby Regions Hospital. Christoff died shortly after.
Within an hour of the shooting, Colbert called Christner again and exchanged at least 53 text messages with her. Christner told law enforcement that Colbert told her to sell her car, get rid of her phone, and that she had to move because “a guy might be dead,” according to the complaint.
Pryor also tried to cover his tracks. He discarded his gun and phone, burned the clothes he had worn that day and ditched the items he’d stolen from Christoff’s car, the complaint states.
A break in the case came Sept. 14 when officers found the Mercedes-Benz in an auto body shop in Hopkins. The car had been partially covered by a tarp, but the rear license plate was visible. Investigators used the information from the car to find Pryor.