ST. LOUIS – A man convicted of fatally shooting a St. Louis-area officer three years ago has been sentenced to life in prison.

A St. Louis County judge sentenced Bonette Meeks, 29, to life in prison plus 40 years over the murder of North County Police Cooperative Officer Michael Langsdorf in June 2019.

Earlier this summer, a jury convicted Meeks on charges of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a firearm and resisting arrest in the investigation.

Meeks fatally shot Langsdorf during a struggle at the Wellston Food Market. Investigators say Meeks tried to cash two suspicious checks worth more than $7,000 at the market. Langsdorf responded to a bad check complaint, then tried to handcuff Meeks before he fired a shot and killed him.

“If Meeks had complied with the arrest by Officer Langsdorf for trying to cash a check that did not belong to him, even if convicted he would have served his time and likely been a free man by now,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. “Instead, he will grow old in prison, and a good man who put himself in harm’s way to protect others is no longer here.”

Per court documents, Meeks went to Wellston Food Market at 6250 Page Ave. in Wellston with the intention to cash checks. Meeks entered the market and attempted to cash the check made out for more than $6,000.

Langsdorf’s family members shared the following statements after the court ruling Wednesday:

“At times I feel lost, lonely, empty, heartbroken, but also proud, honored and privileged for who he was, my son,” his father said. “He is constantly there, but not in the way I want him to be.”

“I have written and rewritten, but I can’t stop with the words of grief in my heart over losing our only son,” his mother said. “We, family and survivors, have been given a life sentence.”

“No one prepares you for the first time going home without him and walking in the house and seeing his shoes, the cup he used that morning, the toothbrush right next to mine,” his fiancée said. “No one prepares you for how hard that will be.” Langsdorf had proposed marriage to her just 17 days before his murder.

“I had so much more to learn from him,” his daughter said. “My dad was my best friend. Now he won’t be there to interrogate my boyfriends with a shotgun like he said he would do.” Langsdorf also is survived by a son.

Earlier this summer, a judge also sentenced Kawyn Smith, 60, to seven years in prison in connection with the crime. Prosecutors say Smith admitted that he gave two checks to Meeks that were made out to someone other than himself or Meeks on June 23, 2019. One check was for approximately $500, the other check was for more than $6,000.

As part of the plea deal, Smith testified against Meeks during his trial earlier this year. Meeks was previously incarcerated in North Carolina for various crimes from ages 16 to 24.