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updated: 11/22/2013 6:28 PM

Shooter gets life for slaying Wheaton volleyball star

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  • Megan Boken

    Megan Boken

  • Keith Esters

    Keith Esters

  • Jonathan Perkins

    Jonathan Perkins


A 19-year-old man was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 20 years for fatally shooting former Wheaton volleyball standout Megan Boken while trying to steal her cellphone.

Keith Esters was sentenced after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in the August 2012 killing in St. Louis, Mo. He initially was charged with first-degree murder.

Boken, 23, was a volleyball star at St. Francis High School in Wheaton and former player at Saint Louis University. She was slain after returning to St. Louis for a job interview and volleyball reunion.

Prosecutors said Esters shot her as she sat in her car talking to her mother. His cousin, Jonathan Perkins, awaits trial as the accused getaway driver.

Boken's father, Paul, said the family was "satisfied" with Esters' guilty plea, but it "does not provide us with closure."

"Nothing can do that," he said. "It does, however, give us a sense that justice was served."

Boken's mother, Lisa, said she felt like part of her body and soul had been "ripped out."

Boken was slain in broad daylight, shot twice in the neck and chest. Witnesses heard gunshots and saw a man running from the scene. Esters and Perkins were charged about a week later after an extensive investigation.

On Friday, Boken's family members called on cellphone makers to adopt new technologies to make stolen phones inoperable if reported stolen.

Paul Boken said cellphone-related crimes account for 30 percent of crimes in New York City and 50 percent of crimes in San Fransisco.

"I can think of no other situation where a person can take something from someone else and turn it into hundreds of dollars virtually overnight," he said. "Doing nothing is not an option. If the manufacturers are not willing to fix the problem, our representatives should legislate a solution."

Megan Boken was a two-time Daily Herald all-area volleyball player. She helped lead the St. Francis team to two state championships before going to Saint Louis University, where she was on two teams appearing in the NCAA Tournament. At the time of her death, she was an Edward Jones financial adviser in Wheaton.

"I was proud of Megan every day of her life," her father said.

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