St. Paul man pleads guilty to murder of woman pregnant with his child

The 27-year-old will spend the next five decades in prison.
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Zachary Robinson

A St. Paul man who was tracked down in Chicago this past July after the fatal shooting of a woman carrying his child has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and will now spend decades in prison. 

Zachary Robinson, 27, pleaded guilty to for the murder of 27-year-old Leneesha Columbus, who was fatally shot at 26 weeks pregnant on July 5.

Doctors were able to deliver the premature baby the same day Columbus was killed, but the baby girl died Aug. 6 due to complications from the premature birth, according to a release from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office. 

Robinson will be formally sentenced later this month, though Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he will receive a total of 590 months, which is more than 49 years in prison. 

Robinson was arrested by the FBI and ATF in Chicago about a week after the fatal shooting. 

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According to the criminal complaint, witnesses saw Robinson and Columbus arguing near her vehicle that was parked in a parking lot on Chicago Avenue, not far from the George Floyd memorial at Chicago Avenue and 38th Street East in south Minneapolis. 

When Columbus started to drive north on Chicago Avenue, Robinson fired several shots at the SUV, witnesses said, and then went back to the parking lot, putting his gun in his waistband.

The shooting happened around 9:18 p.m. and Columbus died at 10:38 p.m. at the hospital, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. She died from a gunshot wound to her upper back/torso, the complaint notes.

Robinson has a criminal history that includes felony assault convictions dating back to 2009, including a December 2019 guilty plea for the shooting of a male victim outside Augie's in downtown Minneapolis. 

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