Woman gets 20-year prison sentence for fatally shooting boyfriend in 2023

A St. Paul woman learned her future in court on Friday morning after pleading guilty in connection with a shooting that left 17-year-old Manuel Ernesto Bernal Jurado dead last year.

Vanessa Sanchez Lopez, 19, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with credit for 422 days already served, according to court records.

Lopez was initially charged in February of 2023 with one count of second-degree murder with intent and one count of second-degree murder by drive-by shooting. Court records show she pleaded guilty in January of this year to one count of second-degree murder by drive-by shooting in exchange for the dismissal of the other charge and 20 years in prison.

RELATED: St. Paul woman pleads guilty to murder charge filed following shooting of 17-year-old boy

A criminal complaint says that on Feb. 2, 2023 officers with the Eden Prairie Police Department saw a speeding vehicle that wouldn’t stop for law enforcement, and a chase continued into Edina.

Police say they located the victim inside the vehicle’s front passenger seat with a gunshot wound to the head. Police learned that Lopez was in the driver’s seat at the time of the shooting, the complaint notes.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Jurado was brought to Fairview Southdale Hospital on Feb. 2, 2023.

Court records say the victim was Lopez’s boyfriend, and on the evening of Feb. 1, they picked up two others and went to a movie. The complaint notes the victim and defendant “had been arguing throughout the night.”

After the movie, the four traveled to Chanhassen to the home of another friend. A firearm belonging to the victim was in the vehicle, and while driving, both the victim and Lopez shot the gun out the window, the complaint alleges.

When they arrived at the residence in Chanhassen, all occupants exited the vehicle but got back in due to the cold weather that night. Then, documents say Lopez pointed the gun at Jurado and shot him in the head at close range.

One witness claims Lopez didn’t want to drive Jurado to the hospital because she didn’t want to go to prison.

According to the complaint, investigators found camera audio from a neighboring house where the shooting occurred, in which shortly after the shooting, you can hear a male voice say, “you shot him in the face” twice.