Man who killed two women found in car trunks gets life sentence

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A 25-year-old Woodbury man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing two young women whose bodies were found a few months apart in the trunks of cars at Twin Cities area impound lots.

Alberto Palmer, a Chicago native who had been a fugitive from beating and sexual assault crimes in Georgia, was sentenced Monday afternoon for the death of 24-year-old Klaressa Cook, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Palmer is expected to receive a second lengthy sentence in Anoka County next month for killing Brittany Clardy, 18, of St. Paul. He will serve the terms consecutively.

According to a plea agreement with prosecutors in Hennepin and Anoka counties, Palmer will first serve a 40-year sentence for Clardy’s murder, which could be reduced by a third. He would then serve at least 30 years of a life sentence for Cook's death, with a chance for parole, the Star Tribune reports.

Palmer had been charged last year with criminal sexual conduct and murder in the death of Clardy (pictured above at left), whose frozen body was discovered in a lot in Columbia Heights in February 2013. Police said he had sex with Clardy for money at a Brooklyn Park home and then struck her with a hammer after they argued about payment, according to a criminal complaint.

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After the killing, Palmer hid her body in her car and drove it to an apartment complex, and the vehicle was later towed to an impound lot in Columbia Heights.

Klaressa Cook (pictured above at right) died in a similar manner about a month earlier. Palmer testified in court Monday that he slammed her into a wall and beat her with his fists until she stopped breathing, the Pioneer Press reports. Her body was found in the trunk of a car at a Minneapolis lot in May 2013.

Palmer apologized to the families of the victims in court Monday, according to the Pioneer Press.

"This is my first time coming forward. ... I just ask them for forgiveness and want them to know I am truly sorry," Palmer said, adding that he has "found Islam," which is helping him "to become a better person."

Marquita Clardy, Brittany’s mother, struggled to get through her short impact statement.

"Our children are not property to be bought... sold or killed," Marquita Clardy said, according to the Pioneer Press. "Klaressa and my daughter, Brittany, did not deserve to die like this, or to die at all. May God have mercy on his soul."

Lakeisha Lee, Clardy’s sister, said Brittany was a victim of sex trafficking, and said the recent opening of a shelter in St. Paul for teenage girls involved in sex trafficking has brought her family more comfort than Palmer's sentencing, according to the Star Tribune.

The shelter is called Brittany's Place in honor of Lee's sister, and is run by 180 Degrees, a nonprofit group that provides services for at-risk youth and adults. “The shelter will last longer than my sister’s life,” Lee said.

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