A Chicago man who lived freely for six years when he was supposed to be serving a 25-year prison sentence in Minnesota for killing a man will have to serve his time, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The case of Knawon A. Conda involves two deaths, two states and a clerical error that set him free in 2007. Conda, 41, completed a prison term in Georgia and was supposed to be sent to Minnesota to serve another sentence. But instead, he lived in Chicago until 2013 when a retired St. Paul police investigator realized the mistake, leading to his arrest that July.
When Conda landed back in Minnesota, he petitioned the court for credit against his sentence for the years he had been free; or, that he should be released from prison; or, that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea because he wasn’t able to serve his Minnesota prison term immediately after serving a prison term in Georgia.
Ramsey County District Judge Joy Bartscher denied those requests in an order issued Wednesday.
“Petitioner [Conda] knew when he was released from custody in Georgia that his sentence in Minnesota was to run consecutive to his sentence in Georgia and he had accrued no custody credit against his Minnesota sentence,” Bartscher wrote. “Petitioner chose not to notify authorities of the fact that he was released in error.”
In 1995, Conda pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting Carl A. Ferguson over $20. Conda, who was 18 during the 1992 incident, shot Ferguson as he fled from an apartment building in St. Paul.
Conda was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but first had to complete 15 years in prison in Georgia for an unrelated manslaughter conviction.
Linda Segl, a clerical supervisor at the Ramsey County sheriff’s warrants office, testified at a hearing this summer that in 2007 she informed Georgia authorities that they could release Conda because his court file appeared to show that there was no pending action.
Segl said that she had also consulted with someone in Ramsey County District Court who agreed.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708