North St. Paul man found guilty of 3 charges in fatal 2022 apartment fire

A North St. Paul man has been found guilty of three charges in connection to an apartment fire where a woman was found dead in 2022.

Melvin Bilbro Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder while committing domestic abuse, second-degree intentional murder and first-degree arson in a court trial held from Jan. 18 to Feb. 2.

According to the criminal complaint, firefighters responded to a fire in the 2200 block of South Avenue East on Aug. 25, 2022, where they found a dead woman, identified as Shanna Renae Daniels, partially burned.

Witnesses told investigators that Daniels’ boyfriend, later identified as Bilbro, was at the apartment about 15 minutes before police arrived.

Law enforcement found several items, including a pack of cigarettes, scissors, a folding knife and shoes, in the apartment that were covered in blood. A small dog was also found in the bathroom “that smelled of smoke and was covered in soot.”

One day later, police arrested Bilbro who said he was at the apartment during the fire but didn’t have an explanation for the items covered in blood, the complaint states.

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According to court records, Bilbro has four prior felony convictions, including motor vehicle theft, assault in the third degree, criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and attempted murder.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office found Daniels “had multiple sharp force injuries,” including to her head and neck.

Bilbro’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Mar. 19, 2024.