ST. LOUIS • A convicted murderer who prosecutors say colluded with a Berkeley woman’s boyfriend to strangle her in 2014 was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.
Dominic O. Arrington, 41, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Friday and was sentenced for stabbing and strangling April Fields, 25, in her car on Jan. 8, 2014. She was found dead outside an apartment complex in the 800 block of Rivertrail Court on the northern edge of the city near the Mississippi River.
Prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty against Arrington but the state waived that in exchange for his guilty plea.
Authorities said Arrington hid in the back seat of Fields’ car and attacked her when she got back in after dropping off her daughter at the Hilltop Child Development Center at 6155 West Florissant Avenue.
Arrington’s public defender declined to comment Friday.
Fields’ boyfriend Demetrius E. Taylor, 31, allegedly took out a $212,000 life insurance policy on Fields a few months before her death and plotted with Arrington to kill Fields. Taylor, who is charged with first-degree murder, is set for trial Jan. 29.
Video surveillance from the day care shows a large man with a limp sneak into the back seat of Fields’ vehicle while she was inside the day care, police said in court documents. After Fields returns to her vehicle, the car “surges and rocks a number of times.” Then, a “large individual gets out of the left rear passenger seat and into the driver’s seat, and drives away.”
At the time of the killing, Arrington weighed at least 300 pounds and walked with a limp from a knee injury, police say.
Police found Fields’ vehicle at a laundry at 5907 Goodfellow Boulevard. Surveillance video showed the same man parking the car in the lot. Inside the vehicle, police found a cigarette butt with DNA matching Arrington. Police arrested Arrington, who initially denied being in Fields’ vehicle.
Arrington, who previously went by the name Dominic O. Wilson, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1995 for killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Robin Vannoy sentenced Arrington on Friday.
Fields’ grandmother, Patricia Long, has said that Fields left behind a 3-year-old daughter, Skylar. Fields had worked for an Olivette real estate company where she served on the company’s charity committee. She had taken business classes at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the Kaplan University Learning Center, and was working toward her bachelor’s degree at the time of her death.