Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty to Minneapolis murder

A Brooklyn Park man has pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder in a home invasion and shooting death in south Minneapolis last year.

Semaj Williams, 22, of Brooklyn Park had faced life in prison if convicted on first-degree murder charges in the shooting of Shea Stremcha in the Longfellow neighborhood the night of July 20, 2011. Instead, Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder and will be sentenced in March to 38 years and four months in prison. The first-degree murder charges and unrelated burglary charges will be dropped.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Williams entered his plea before Judge Marilyn Kaman Nov. 7, shortly before jury selection for his murder trial.

According to the county attorney’s office, Williams admitted that he planned a home break-in and robbery with Robert Shelby of St. Paul and Xavier Walker, who had no permanent address. The plan was to steal money and drugs from a drug dealer’s home, but they broke into the wrong house.

The attorney’s office says Williams testified that after the break-in, Strechma came around the corner and Walker shot him.

The criminal complaint says Strechma, 25, and his fiancée were sleeping when the sound of glass breaking woke her. She woke Strechma, who grabbed a knife and left the room. Strechma apparently stabbed Shelby in the hand before being shot in the heart.

Shelby, 28, pleaded guilty in May and will receive 35-and-a-half years in prison. Walker, 25, will be tried for first-degree murder March 4.