Man sentenced to over 25 years in jail after pleading guilty to 2019 murder of man in West St. Paul

A man charged in connection to a fatal 2019 shooting of a man in his West St. Paul apartment pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday.

The Dakota County Attorney’s Office said 20-year-old Terrell Theo Payne, of Little Canada, entered the plea to one count of second-degree murder in connecton to the July 9, 2019 shooting that killed 21-year-old Lawrence Terrance Renfro.

A judge then sentenced Payne to more than 25 years (306 months) in prison. A charge of first-degree murder was dismissed.

2 men charged in fatal West St. Paul shooting

According to a criminal complaint, a friend of Renfro went to Renfro’s apartment on the morning of July 9, 2019, and found the door to the apartment locked. After he knocked and nobody answered, he walked to the bedroom window and found the screen damaged. After entering through the window, he found Renfro dead on a couch next to his 2-year-old child.

The complaint states the friend took the child and called police. In the apartment, five 9mm casings were found. An autopsy determined Renfro had been shot five times, including once in the head.

Payne was arrested on July 30, 2019. He told police he and 23-year-old Nathan Wesley McDonald, of Oakdale, had gone to Renfro’s apartment that morning and entered his apartment through the bedroom window. After Renfro woke up, he told them to "get out of here," the complaint states. Payne said they then shot Renfro multiple times.

McDonald previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Aug. 21. His sentencing is set for Nov. 5.