R.I.P.: Former Northfielder Shea Stremcha shot and killed in his Minneapolis home

Shea Stremcha
Posted to the StarTribune earlier this evening: Man shot, killed in Minneapolis home

A 25-year-old man who recently landed a new job at Ameriprise Financial and was engaged to be married was shot to death in his south Minneapolis home overnight, and police tracked a bloody trail from the crime scene in pursuit of the killer.

Shea Stremcha may have been killed after interrupting a burglary, but Police Sgt. Stephen McCarty said that "at this point in the investigation it is too early to rule out all other possible motives."

Shea graduated from Northfield High School in 2004. For many years, he worked at Witt Bros Service with his uncles, Mark Witt and Mike Witt. He’s survived by his parents, Jeffrey and Leanne Stremcha and his siblings, Jesse and Amanda.

Shea’s public LinkedIn profile has information about his work and education background.

13 thoughts on “R.I.P.: Former Northfielder Shea Stremcha shot and killed in his Minneapolis home”

  1. I didn’t know Shea but I’ve known his parents Leanne and Jeff for several years, as well as his siblings, Jesse and Amanda. And I’ve known his uncles Mark and Mike Witt since we moved to Northfield 35+ years ago and began taking our cars for repairs to (grandpa) Marv’s Standard, now Witt Bros. I can’t imagine how devastated they all are tonight.

  2. My husband David Kamis recalls Shea liking art in his classes at Middle School. David had their mother Leanne in school also. His grandfather Marv would tell David of Shea’s accomplishments, and of Leanne’s, from time to time.

    I was an art teacher also. I, too, recall the many talented students I had in grades 7-12. It cheers me to think of them. Reading the Star Trib report posted here just broke our hearts this morning.

  3. I spent much of my childhood with Shea and his family. As a little girl Shea was my world. he taught us all so many things. The two men convicted of his murder took more than they anticipated that night. they took a good heart-ed man, who was loved by all. We love you and miss you. RIP Shea

  4. I got an email from Shea’s parents, Jeff and Leanne Stremcha. Here’s the portion related to the legal process.

    Friends,

    We acknowledge up front that this note is quite long by email conventions. Hope you can bear with it….

    Many of you have told us that you would like to be kept informed regarding activities related to the legal process for the two men charged with Shea’s murder. So, we’ve put together an update for that purpose and are sending it to those who we think might be interested…

    If/as either defendant comes up for trail, we will be trying to fill our half of the courtroom with Shea’s family and friends. From the pre-trial hearings, it seems clear that the defendants will certainly have their contingents present. If you, or someone you know, might be available to attend some, or all, of one or both trails (assuming they occur), please let us know. At this point, a best guess would be that one trial might start in early March and another in the May timeframe and that each may run for a couple of weeks.

    Pre-trial hearings: 11/29

    The most recent hearings were held on 11/29 as follow-ups from previous hearings held on August 24.

    Defendants are being kept separated. Deputies insisted on morning/afternoon sessions to ensure adequate separation.

    Each defendant is charged with Burglary and with First Degree Murder with Intent while in the commission of a felony (i.e. the Burglary). If they are found to be guilty, or they agree to a guilty plea, sentencing would generally be determined within MN Sentencing Guidelines and would depend on what charge they would be convicted. Possible scenarios might include:

    First Degree Murder: Mandatory Sentence – Life in prison; Eligible for parole in 30 yrs.

    Second Degree Murder: Senencing Guidelines – Likely 20-40 years in prison; Eligible for parole after 2/3 of sentence is served.

    Note that being eligible doesn’t necessarily mean they would be paroled. If/when paroled, they would be out on parole for remainder of specified term. (Also worth noting that both were on parole when they murdered Shea).

    Robert Shelby, Age 27 (dob: 2/26/84):
    Attorney: Demetrius Clemons, Assistant Public Defender (Hennepin Cnty employee).
    Labs tests not all completed. Expect that they will be shortly.
    Set next hearing date on Jan 23, 2012. Resolved in chambers and defense agreed.
    Expect any motions to be filed at that time and a trial date to be set. Trial date expected to be in April-May timeframe.
    Shelby quiet/subdued/dejected.

    Small handful of attendees for Shelby. They remained quiet. (Later, it was reported that several members of his family arrived too late to attend).

    Semaj Williams, Age 21 (now 22, dob: 12/6/89):
    Attorney: John Ryan, Assistant Public Defender (apparently sub-contracting from a private firm based upon case load).
    Labs tests not all completed. Expect that they will be shortly.
    Court set next hearing date on Jan 29, 2012 as this could not be resolved in chambers. Expect any motions to be filed at that time.

    Williams requested to exercise his right to a speedy trial. (Per prosecutor, since defendant had previously waived this right, this request is no longer binding).

    Court set trial date for February 27. Subsequently, it came to light that Ashley will be out of the country at that time so Prosecutor will seek to move the date out a week or so – potentially March 5.

    Williams acted alert and had several discussions with his attorney. Fairly large group of attendees for Williams (~12-15?). They behaved in a somewhat agitated manner including making several murmured comments – to the effect of: “Get on with it and let him out”.

    Williams entered a plea of “Not Guilty” into the court records.
    Defense requested that the Grand Jury indictment be dismissed. On questioning from the Judge, they replied they were not entering that as an official motion at this time.

    Williams had prepared a hand-written page of “legal principles” that he was requesting be used for the trial and that he wanted entered into court records. An example cited by the prosecutor was: “A person can not be convicted solely upon circumstantial evidence”.

    We appreciate your continuing friendship and support as we try to navigate this difficult journey.

    Warmly,

    Jeff and Leanne

  5. A Feb. 10 email update from Jeff and Leanne Stremcha:

    Friends –

    We wanted to send a brief update regarding the latest pre-trial hearings that had been scheduled over the past two weeks.

    If you decide to attend an upcoming hearing, feel free to contact us for information about logistics. Also, be aware that the schedule for the pre-trial hearings to-date has been susceptible to last minute changes so may be best to check in with us near the scheduled date.

    When an actual trial starts, we will want to try to fill up at least “our half” of the courtroom for each day of the actual trial (not necessarily during jury selection – although we will certainly be there). It appears this will require approximately 20 attendees each day for 2-3 weeks. Expecting that most people won’t be able to attend for the entire duration, we plan to have some form of online, day by day, sign-up sheet that can be kept updated by the time we get to that point.

    Updates:

    Robert Shelby, Age 27 (dob 2/26/84): Attorney: Demetrius Clemons, Assistant Public Defender, Hennepin County

    A hearing had been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23. You might recall this was the morning we received snow/ice during morning rush hour which made for a challenging trip to downtown. When we arrived, the attorneys and judge were already conferencing privately in the judge’s chambers. When they emerged, they informed us that they are still waiting on a significant amount of forensic analysis to be completed by the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) lab. Therefore, they decided to “continue” the prior hearing. Consequently, there was no formal hearing of record. Next hearing is scheduled for March 13 at 8:45 AM. There appeared to be only a couple of people attending from the defendants family/friends and they remained quiet..

    Semaj Williams, Age 22 (dob 12/6/89): Attorney: Kate Rindfleisch, Kamrath Law Group

    A hearing was held on the morning of Jan 30. At that time, the court learned that Williams had dismissed the public defender, John Ryan, who had been assigned. Williams has engaged a private defense attorney, Kate/Katie Rindfleisch. According to Google, she works for Kamrath Law Group (along with 2 other attorneys) in St Paul and received her law degree from William Mitchell in 2010.

    The prosecutors had filed, and planned to argue, two procedural motions. However, due to the change in counsel and the fact that Ms. Rindfleisch had not been engaged for long enough to have been able to prepare, these motions were not argued and will be on the agenda for the next hearing. With the last minute change in counsel and, since the prosecution was still waiting for lab results, the judge used the hearing to recap the activities to-date and to outline a new schedule going forward. She emphasized that she expected both sides to be ready to proceed under the new schedule. A private, in-chambers, checkpoint meeting among the attorneys and the judge is scheduled for February 29. The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for March 13 at 1:00 and a trial date is scheduled for May 14.

    There appeared to be 5-6 people attending from the defendants family/friends and they remained quiet.

    Summary of Activities To-Date:

    Shea was murdered on July 20 shortly after 3:00 AM. Shelby and Williams were arrested the next day and, since that time, they have remained separated and in jail. Bail for each is set at $1 million dollars.

    July 26: The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged each defendant with Burglary and Second Degree Murder.

    August 5: A Grand Jury was convened and determined that sufficient evidence existed to charge the two with First Degree Murder. Only a Grand Jury can make this charge. In MN, this charge carries a Mandatory Life Sentence with eligibility for parole after 30 years.

    August 24: Pre-trial hearings were held for each defendant. No motions were filed. Each defendant waived their option to request a speedy trial (In all liklihood, the judge would have ruled against such a request due to the amount of forensic evidence needing to be analyzed.

    November 29: Pre-trial hearings were held for each defendant. No motions were filed. Williams entered a plea of “Not Guilty” of the charges and made a request for a speedy trial. Next hearing dates were set at January 23 for Shelby and January 30 for Williams. See updates above.

    Thank you for your continuing concern and support,
    Jeff and Leanne

  6. Hello,

    Upon hearing from a person from Ameriprise Financial today with whom I was not acquainted, I asked about Shea. I was informed of the unspeakable. Shea had handled my account at AF for a few years now. He and I had spoken in total about 10 times. I had grown to like him and patronizingly considered him the “nice young midwesterner who worked at Ameriprise”. He certainly lived up to that description. I was continually satisfied with how he treated me and the way he did his job.

    I have no words to describe my regret and wholeheartedly extend my condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Stremcha and all who know him and cared about him.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Scully
    New York City

  7. I got this from Jeff Stremcha last week but neglected to post it here. It’s still relevant, however:

    We just learned of a scheduling change regarding one of the hearings that had been scheduled for next week. The hearing for Semaj Williams that had been set for 1:00 next Tues, 3/13, has been rescheduled to 8:45 on Tues, 3/27. At that time, we expect the prosecution will argue a couple of motions that they had planned to argue at the prior hearing which got deferred. At this time, the trial for Williams is still scheduled to begin on May 14.

    A pre-trial hearing is still scheduled next Tues for Robert Shelby. There has been no substantive activity related to him to-date and we are not aware of any motions being argued next week. I expect this hearing will most likely continue to be very short and pretty uneventful with potentially some discussion about getting to a schedule for his trial.

    Unless something else changes, I’ll plan to send another update after these two hearings have been completed.

    As always, thanks for your continued interest and support.

  8. From Jeff Stremcha:

    Friends –

    Here is a brief update regarding the latest pre-trial hearings that had been scheduled over the past two weeks. As before, I’ll continue to summarize activities to-date lower in the note in order to spare you having to refer back to earlier notes. As always, if you’d rather be removed from the distribution list, just reply back and let me know. If you want me to add someone to the list, simply forward this on to them and “cc” me and I will add them to the list for future updates.

    If you should decide to attend the upcoming hearing scheduled for this Wednesday at 1:15 PM, feel free to contact us for information about logistics. Also, be aware that the schedule for these pre-trial hearings to-date has been susceptible to last minute changes so it may be best to check in with us before making the trip.

    When an actual trial starts, we will want to try to fill up at least “our half” of the courtroom for each day of the actual trial (once the jury has been seated but not necessarily during jury selection which we have been told can be quite tedious). It appears this will require approximately 15-20 attendees each day for approximately 5-7 days (excluding jury selection). Expecting that most people won’t be able to attend for the entire duration, we are working with the good people at Northfield.org who will create and monitor an online sign-up sheet. We expect to be able to send a link to the form late this week along with any update from the hearing this Wednesday. We will also provide additional information on logistics at that time.

    Updates:

    Robert Shelby, Age 28 (dob 2/26/84): Attorney: Demetrius Clemons, Assistant Public Defender, Hennepin County

    A hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday, March 13. However, the attorneys and judge met privately in the judge’s chambers and determined there was nothing to warrant a formal hearing so the scheduled hearing was deferred until this coming Wednesday, April 4 at 1:15.

    Semaj Williams, Age 22 (dob 12/6/89): Attorney: Kate Rindfleisch, Kamrath Law Group

    A hearing was held on the morning of March 27. At that time, the prosecution argued two motions which they had filed and the defense argued three that they had filed. All motions pertained to admissibility of certain evidence or testimony and/or to procedural matters related to the upcoming trial. The judge took all motions under advisement and will rule on the matters before, or at, the trial.

    There appeared to be 5-6 people attending, presumably from the defendants family, and they remained quiet.

    Summary of Activities To-Date:

    Shea was murdered on July 20, 2011 shortly after 3:00 AM. Shelby and Williams were arrested the next day and, since that time, they have remained separated and in jail. Bail for each is set at $1 million dollars.

    July 26: The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged each defendant with Burglary and Second Degree Murder.

    August 5: A Grand Jury was convened and determined that sufficient evidence existed to charge the two with First Degree Murder. Only a Grand Jury can make this charge. In MN, this charge carries a Mandatory Life Sentence with eligibility for parole after 30 years.

    August 24: Pre-trial hearings were held for each defendant. No motions were filed. Each defendant waived their option to request a speedy trial (In all likelihood, the judge would have ruled against such a request due to the amount of forensic evidence needing to be analyzed).

    November 29: Pre-trial hearings were held for each defendant. No motions were filed. Williams entered a plea of “Not Guilty” of the charges and made a request for a speedy trial. Next hearing dates were set at January 23 for Shelby (later deferred to March 13 and then to April 4) and January 30 for Williams.

    January 30: A hearing was held on the morning of Jan 30. At that time, the court learned that Williams had dismissed the public defender, John Ryan, who had been assigned. Williams has engaged a private defense attorney, Kate/Katie Rindfleisch. According to Google, she works for Kamrath Law Group (along with 2 other attorneys) in St Paul and received her law degree from William Mitchell in 2010.

    The prosecutors had filed, and planned to argue, two procedural motions. However, due to the change in counsel and the fact that Ms. Rindfleisch had not been engaged for long enough to have been able to prepare, these motions were not argued and moved to the agenda for the next hearing. With the last minute change in counsel and, since the prosecution was still waiting for lab results, the judge used the hearing to recap the activities to-date and to outline a new schedule going forward. She emphasized that she expected both sides to be ready to proceed under the new schedule. A private, in-chambers, checkpoint meeting among the attorneys and the judge was scheduled for February 29. The next pre-trial hearing was scheduled for March 13 at 1:00 (later rescheduled to March 27. A trial date was scheduled for May 14.
    ********************************************************************************************************************************

    Thank you for your continuing concern and support,
    Jeff and Leanne

  9. To the Stremcha Family, I was a client of Sheas’, he and I spoke many times over the phone. I went with what he recommended, just want to say he did his job very well. He took great interest in not just the business side of it, but the personal side too. When I heard the news, I was beyond shock. He was a good kid, and if everybody his age conducted themselves like he did, the world would be just fine. My best to you all. — Ben

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