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That is my ambition, to have killed more people-more helpless people-than any man or woman who has ever lived.

Jane Toppan
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Dennis Skillicorn - Missouri Death Row - Scheduled Execution
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Start : Wednesday 20 May 2009, 22:00
End : Wednesday 20 May 2009, 22:00


NEW DATE MAY 20, 2009

Victims: Richard Drummond

The Crime: In late August, 1994, Dennis Skillicorn, Allen Nicklasson, and Tim DeGraffenreid headed east from Kansas City to obtain illegal drugs. On August 23, 1994, during their return trip to Kansas City, the 1983 Chevrolet Caprice in which they were traveling broke down twenty-two miles east of the Kingdom City exit on I-70. An offer of assistance by a state trooper was refused. The following day, the trio had progressed only 17 miles to the JJ overpass approximately 5 miles east of Kingdom City. They burglarized the nearby home of Merlin Smith, stole some guns and money, and used the stolen money to pay for a tow to Kingdom City. A garage in Kingdom City was unable to repair the Caprice’s extensive mechanical problems.

The trio then drove the car back east toward the site of their earlier robbery. They stalled again on the south outer road east of Kingdom City. Between 4 and 5 p.m., Richard Drummond, a technical support supervisor for AT&T, saw the stranded motorists, stopped, and offered to take them to use a phone. He was driving a white, 1994 Dodge Intrepid, company car.

Skillicorn and Nicklasson were both armed. They loaded the booty from the Smith burglary into the trunk of Drummond's car. While Nicklasson held a gun to Drummond’s head, Skillicorn asked Drummond questions in order to calm him down, including whether Drummond's "old lady" was going to miss him. As Drummond drove east, Skillicorn "got to thinking . . . if we let this guy off, he's got this car phone." So they disabled the car phone. Skillicorn stated that he later determined they would have to "lose" Drummond in the woods. At some point during this time, Nicklasson and Skillicorn discussed what they should do with Drummond. Skillicorn, in his sworn statement, claimed that Nicklasson said "he was going to, you know, do something to this guy. I tell him – you know, now, we're trying to talk on the pretenses that – that, uh, this guy in the front seat don't hear us too. Right? Right. 'Cause, uh, I didn't want him panicking."

They directed Drummond to exit I-70 at the Highway T exit just east of Higginsville. They proceeded four miles onto County Road 202 to a secluded area where they ordered Drummond to stop his vehicle. As Nicklasson prepared to take Drummond through a field toward a wooded area, Skillicorn demanded Drummond's wallet. Knowing Nicklasson had no rope or other means by which to restrain Mr. Drummond and that Nicklasson carried a loaded .22 caliber pistol, Skillicorn watched as Nicklasson lead Mr. Drummond toward a wooded area. There, Nicklasson shot Mr. Drummond twice in the head. Skillicorn acknowledged hearing two shots from the woods and that Nicklasson returned having "already done what he had to do." Drummond's remains were found eight days later.

News: BONNE TERRE, Mo. | Dennis Skillicorn died from lethal injection early this morning, becoming the first Missouri prisoner to be executed in nearly four years and the 67th since 1989.

Skillicorn, 49, was pronounced dead at 12:34 a.m. at the state’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center.

The Kansas City man was one of the “Good Samaritan killers” who murdered Richard Drummond of Excelsior Springs, and later an Arizona couple in a 1994 crime-spree that stretched from Missouri to Mexico. Skillicorn had been on death row since his conviction in 1996.

Prior to today, Missouri hadn’t carried out an execution since October 2005.

In 2007, the state was one of several to delay executions pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case over the constitutionality of lethal injections. The high court found the method of execution constitutional in April 2008, however, and a lower court issued a similar ruling specific to Missouri a few months later.

Gov. Jay Nixon denied Skillicorn’s clemency petition shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“The jury that convicted Dennis Skillicorn determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law, and my decision on clemency upholds the jury’s action,” Nixon said in a statement.

Skillicorn was sentenced to death for the murder of Drummond, a telephone-company supervisor who picked up Skillicorn and two other men after their car broke down in central Missouri.

Skillicorn and Allen Nicklasson continued their crime spree in Arizona, where they killed another man and his wife after the man attempted to help them with car troubles.

Nicklasson, who actually pulled the trigger in the three murders, remains on death row. The third accomplice, Tim DeGraffenreid, was a teenager when he participated in the Missouri murder and is now serving a life sentence.

Last Meal: Cheeseburger, fries and cheesecake

Final Statement: Skillicorn on Tuesday declined an interview request. But in a lengthy, written final statement, he expressed sorrow for his crime.

"The last 15 years I've lived daily with the remorse of my actions," he wrote. "And I am deeply sorry for all the Drummond family has been forced to endure."

He wrote that he knows now that "God does change a man."

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