Some more Information about Missouri DR Inmates

Started by Jacques, October 01, 2010, 06:58:00 PM

previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Go Down


October 01, 2010, 06:58:00 PM Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 09:18:24 AM by Jacques

Charles Mathenia

Case Facts:  Decedents were Daisy Nash, 72, and her mentally impaired sister Louanna Bailey, 70. Mathenia had lived with Nash for some seven years prior to her death. At the time of the killings, Mathenia was 25 years old and still living with Nash.

In September of 1983, Mathenia allegedly twice raped Louanna Bailey and in December of the year he was charged for those offenses upon her complaint. In February, Bailey dropped the charges, indicating she would refuse to testify against Mathenia. The evidence indicated that the murders were motivated by Mathenia's resentment at having been arrested and confined in connection with these charges. Mathenia vowed to take revenge on the two sisters.

Sometime after midnight on April 24, 1984, Mathenia returned home after spending the day with his sister and brother-in -law. An argument began with Nash as soon as he entered the house. During the course of the argument, Mathenia hit the 72 year old woman in the face, knocking her to the floor. He then retrieved a butcher knife from the kitchen and after kicking and beating her, he stabbed her several times.

Shortly thereafter, Mathenia rode his bicycle the two blocks to Bailey's home and told her he had killed Nash. While Bailey tried to call Nash, Mathenia got a butcher knife. When he returned, Bailey attempted to flee but Mathenia stabbed her fatally in the back. Mathenia was arrested the following day. He was convicted by a jury of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to death in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.

William T. Boliek

Case Facts:  In August of 1983, Boliek was living in Linda Turner's home. Aside from Turner, other residents of the home included Boliek's lover Jill Harless, Turner's brother Don Anderson, and Vernon Wait. The victim, Jody Harless, arrived to visit her sister Jill, and stayed at the Turner house. One Friday evening, Boliek, Wait, Anderson, and Jody Harless robbed the home of an acquaintance, Stan Gray, at gunpoint. Afterward, fearing retaliation from Gray and his friends, Boliek acquired a 12 gauge shotgun, and Wait acquired a .410 sawed off shotgun. Boliek and Wait began to discuss the necessity of "getting rid of witnesses" to the robbery. Learning the police wanted to speak with Gray, Boliek, Wait and the Harless sisters left Kansas City on the following Monday.

Boliek convinced them to drive to Thayer, Missouri to hide out with Boliek's parents. They robbed a liquor store in Nevada on the way.

Later that night, they made a rest stop along Route M in Oregon County. After the car stopped, Jody Harless got out. As she was walking back to the car, Boliek took the 12 gauge shotgun from the car and shot her. She grabbed her stomach but continued to walk towards the car. She began to plead with Boliek. Wait grabbed Harless and forced her to the ground and Boliek shot her again. Boliek told the victims sister that he had fired the second shot into the victim's mouth and neck so identification of the body would be impossible.

Boliek was arrested September 6, 1983, in Decatur, Illinois, for an armed robbery of a gas station committed earlier that day. When arrested, he had in his possession the shotgun and shotgun shells he had used to kill Jody Harless. Boliek managed to escape from custody but was recaptured.

A rancher riding his fence line discovered the body of Jody Harless on September 10, 1983, 28 feet from Highway M in Oregon County. Police investigators discovered two live .410 shotgun shells and two 12 gauge expended shells near the body. The victims decomposed body was unidentifiable by viewing and had to be identified by dental records. She had been killed by a shotgun wound to the head. At trial, Boliek claimed that when he fired the first shot he did not know the gun was loaded. The second shot, he said, was fired by Wait. The jury found Boliek guilty of capital murder and imposed the death sentence.

Elroy Preston

Case Facts: Elroy Preston had been living temporarily with his brother Ervin in the downstairs portion of his house. Ervin was a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. Pee Wee Richardson and Betty Klien lived together upstairs. All were present in Ervin's quarters for an evening of heavy drinking. During the course of the night, frequent alcohol-related verbal disputes were exchanged between the three men over petty issues, including who was to sleep where and whether some chicken which had been purchased was to be shared with Pee Wee Richardson.

Pee Wee and Betty eventually went upstairs to bed, with Elroy Preston from time to time interrupting their slumber with trips to their room. Angry for a continuing assortment of reasons, Preston made a final trip upstairs and ordered Pee Wee and Betty to come back downstairs. In the presence of Ervin and Sherry Brown (Preston's girlfriend), Preston announced to Pee Wee and Betty that he would kill them just as soon as he removed his clothes. The idea behind the clothes removal was to keep splattered blood off of them. True to his word, Preston removed his clothes and proceeded to stab and critically wound Pee Wee with a hunting knife. Then with a single swipe of the knife he severed Betty's spinal cord at the neck, killing her instantly. He immediately returned his attention to Pee Wee and stabbed him several more times in the chest and abdomen. Pee Wee died as a result of five stab wounds to the body, face and hands, the latter coming as he tried to ward off the lethal blows. He also absorbed four incised wounds. The killings complete, Preston took some left over fried chicken and dipped it in the victims' blood and ate it with relish, all the while aiming deprecatory remarks at his stone dead victims. With this bizarre bit of action completed, Preston and Sherry Brown dragged the bodies to a back alley and left them there to be discovered by the neighbors. He and Ms. Brown then made some effort to clean the blood spattered house.

Elroy Preston was convicted of the capital murder of Pee Wee Richardson and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of second degree murder for the killing of Betty Klein and given a consecutive life sentence.

Andrew A. Lyons

Case Facts: As of September 1992, Andrew Lyons and Bridgette Harris had been living together for three years in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Their eleven-month old son, Dontay, lived with them, as did Bridgette's two children from a previous relationship, seven-year-old Demetrius and four-year-old Deonandrea. Approximately one week before the murders, Lyons told a longtime friend that he was having problems with Bridgette. Lyons told the friend that "he just felt like killing" and that the "best thing for Bridgette to do...was to get killed..." Around the same time, Bridgette moved out of the house she shared with Lyons. She and the three children moved in with Bridgette's mother, Evelyn Sparks.

Two days before the murders, Lyons drove his truck alongside Bridgette and her older sister while they were walking on a sidewalk. He stopped the truck and pulled forward the passenger's seat, revealing a shotgun. The women ran away and reported the incident to the police.

The day before the murders, Lyons told another friend that Evelyn was interfering with his relationship with Bridgette and that "she should leave them alone or he would kill her." That night, he told Bridgette's best friend that "I am going to end up killing Evelyn." Around midnight, Lyons told yet another friend that he was going to shoot Evelyn with his shotgun and "catch a train out of here."

On the morning of Sunday, September 20, 1992, Lyons went to Evelyn's house, where Bridgette was staying. He and Bridgette argues. Lyons left, went back to his house, and grabbed his shotgun and a duffel bag packed with clothes and ammunition. Shortly after 10 a.m., Lyons returned to Evelyn's house. Evelyn was in the kitchen. Bridgette, Deonandrea, and Dontay were downstairs in the basement. Demetrius heard a loud noise from upstairs an went to see what happened. On his way, he passed Lyons coming down the stairs carrying a shotgun. Demetrius saw his grandmother lying on the kitchen floor and ran to his room. In the basement, Lyons shot Dontay once and shot Bridgette once.

Lyons then drove to the house where his half-brother Jerry DePree was staying. Lyons asked DePree to follow him to the house of his friends John and Gail Carter si that he could drop off his truck. Upon arriving at the Carter's house, Lyons went in to talk to Gail. He told her that he had killed Bridgette and Evelyn and that he has shot Dontay by accident. Lyons went back outside and transferred the shotgun and duffel bag from his truck to De Pree's car. Lyons got into DePree's car and told him to drive away. DePree asked him what was wrong, and Lyons told him he had shot some people and that the police would probably be looking for him. DePree dropped Lyons off at Trail of Tears State Park. Lyons left his shotgun in DePree's car.

Back at Evelyn park's house, another of Evelyn's daughters arrived around 11:00 a.m. She found her mother on the kitchen floor and called the police. The police discovered Bridgette and Dontay in the basement. All three were dead. Evelyn died from massive hemorrhaging and tissue destruction caused by a gunshot wound above her left hip. Bridgette died from massive hemorrhaging and tissue destruction caused by a gunshot below her right shoulder. Dontay died from extensive brain tissue damage secondary to a contact gunshot wound to the left eye.

When DePree learned later in the day that Evelyn, Bridgette, and Dontay had been shot to death, he turned over Lyon's shotgun to the police. The shell casing found in the shotgun and the two shell casings found at Evelyn's house matched the shell casings of cartridges fired from the shotgun by the States firearms examiner.

Lyons was arrested in the afternoon and confessed to shooting Evelyn, Bridgette and Dontay that morning.

Note: The court (Missouri Supreme Court) has blocked the execution of inmate Andrew Lyons, who killed three people in Cape Girardeau in 1992. The court, again in a unanimous opinion, says the evidence from a special master of the court supports claims that Lyons is mentally retarded, with an IQ of 61 to 70 and that his condition was documented before he achieved adulthood.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that mentally retarded people cannot be executed if their condition was diagnosed while still a minor.

Lyons used a shotgun to kill his estranged girlfriend, their 11-month old son, and the girlfriend's mother.  The court has not reduced his sentence. It has only issued a writ forbidding the Corrections Department from executing him.

Martin Link

Case Facts:   On Friday, January 11, 1991, just before 6:30 a.m., eleven-year-old Elissa Self left her house at 3844 Humphrey Street in South St. Louis to walk less than three blocks to catch her bus to Enright Classical Junior Academy, a school for gifted children. It was a cold, rainy morning, and Elissa's mother insisted that she wear boots and carry an umbrella. Elissa never arrived at school, and at about 8:20 a.m. the school called Elissa's parents to tell them that Elissa was not present. Elissa's parents drove around the neighborhood looking for her, but they were unable to find her, and they went home and called the police.

During the next four days, police canvassed the neighborhood, interviewed possible witnesses, and investigated calls and letters on possible sightings. On Tuesday, January 15, 1991, two persons who were scavenging at the Black Bridge recreation area along the St. Francis River, 135 miles south of St. Louis in Wayne County, found Elissa's body in a large pile of debris that had washed up on the riverbank. Police soon searched the area and found Elissa's boots, but none of her other belongings.

At about 9:24 p.m., on January 26, 1991, eleven days after Elissa's body was found, a City of Kirkwood police officer saw Martin Link driving with a headlight out and attempted to pull him over. Link led the officer on a high-speed chase, eventually crashing his car into a telephone pole, and was then taken into custody. In a search of the car, officers found a jar of petroleum jelly with Link's fingerprints on the jar and flecks of blood embedded in the jelly.

DNA tests conducted by two different labs showed that Link's DNA matched the DNA found in sperm cells on vaginal swabs taken from Elissa's body. The state's DNA expert set the odds of such a match at one in 6,600. The testing also revealed that Elissa's DNA matched the DNA in the blood found in the petroleum jelly jar seized from Link's car. The odds of that match were one in 48. The joint probability of both of these matches occurring by chance was less than one in 300,000.

Link did not testify at trial, but he called two witnesses who had reported seeing Elissa after 6:30 a.m. on January 11, 1991. He also called a detective who had worked with one of these witnesses to make a composite drawing of a man she allegedly saw with Elissa, but who did not resemble Link. He also called two witnesses who worked as buyers in the clothing industry to testify to the large number of cotton/ramie sweaters, like the one Elissa wore, that were imported every year. He called two DNA experts to testify that the DNA tests performed by the other two laboratories were faulty. In addition, one of the DNA experts and a third expert testified that the state's conclusions about the probabilities of Link's DNA being found in the sperm on the vaginal swab and Elissa's DNA being found in the blood in the petroleum jelly jar were incorrect.

At the close of the evidence, instructions, and arguments, the jury found Link guilty of kidnapping, forcible rape, and murder in the first degree.

Richard D. Clay

Case Facts: Clay's close friend Charles Sanders had an affair with Stacy Martindale. In February 1994, Martindale asked Sanders to help her kill her husband. She was unhappy in her marriage and also was the primary beneficiary of her husband's life insurance policy in the face amount of $100,000. During the spring of 1994, every time they met, Sanders and Martindale discussed various plans to kill her husband. Sanders confided in Clay, who told him that he would be "crazy" to help her with the plan.

Sanders borrowed a gun from another friend and kept it in his car. He bought ammunition and he and Martindale practiced firing the weapon. At that time, Clay was unemployed and did not own a car. He often borrowed Sanders' car, twice took the gun out of the car without permission, and left the gun at a friend's house. He testified that he removed the gun so that he wouldn't be caught with it while driving Sanders' car.

Martindale separated from her husband about April 28, 1994. Martindale offered Sanders $100,000 to kill her husband and in April gave him a check for $4996.36 as a "down payment." A few weeks later, Sanders returned the check to Martindale, telling her that he could not execute the act they had been discussing. A carbon copy of the check was later found.

On May 19, 1994, Martindale met Sanders at Sanders' place of employment. Clay waited inside to give them privacy. Outside, Martindale pressured Sanders to kill her husband. When Sanders refused, Martindale told him that she was going to ask Clay to do it. Then she immediately rode around alone with Clay.

Leaving Martindale, Clay went to a bar, to a restaurant, and then to a trailer. Clay left the trailer carrying a black zippered bag. At 9:45 p.m., Martindale picked up Clay, who still had the black bag and drove him to her home.

In the meantime, her estranged husband had taken her two boys to a baseball game. He brought the boys back to her house after 10 p.m. Martindale invited him to spend the night. He went into her bedroom, sat down on a love seat, and took off his shoes and socks. While he was sitting there, Clay came out of the bedroom closet where he was hiding and shot him four times. The victim bled to death. Martindale ran next door, awakening the neighbors with her screams. A neighbor came over to the house with her to find the two boys had discovered the victim bleeding from gunshot wounds, slumped over in the love seat in the bedroom.

Moments later, a police officer saw a red Camaro with sparks flying beneath it. Because the driver continued to drive despite the sparks, the officer believed the driver to be drunk. He pursued the Camaro, and when it accelerated, the officer turned on his red lights. The officer caught up to the Camaro on a gravel road where it was stopped, both doors opened, with the engine running. The officer requested backup and turned off the ignition of the Camaro. A shoe print, later found to match Clay's, was found outside the passenger door. When the other officers arrived, they began a search sweeping the area from the vehicle to a swamp. An officer found a dry, live .380 caliber Remington-and -Peters cartridge that matched those found at the crime scene in dew covered grass. The search lasted throughout the night. The next day several officers were sitting on a levee when one saw Clay run into the woods. Clay was carrying a black bag. As the officer closed in on him, he emptied the bag and threw it behind him. Officers continued the search through the swamp until one saw Clay's face as he surfaced to breathe. When the officers reached him, they arrested him. The police never found the murder weapon.

Earnest Lee Johnson

On April 22, 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the death penalty for Earnest Lee Johnson. Johnson was convicted of beating three employees of a Columbia convenience store to death in 1994. Since Ernest Lee Johnson was convicted, the Missouri Legislature passed a law prohibiting the death penalty for people who are mentally retarded. Testimony from three experts at Johnson's trial agreed that he has mild retardation to low-average intelligence. The jury was not allowed to hear testimony about Johnson's possible mental retardation. The high court has upheld Johnson's three murder convictions but is ordering a new penalty phase where capital punishment cannot be applied.

Case Facts: At eleven o'clock, the morning of Saturday, February 12, 1994, Johnson bought a bottle of beer and a package of cigarettes at a Columbia, Missouri convenience store of which he was a frequent customer. He went to the store a second time later that day, but did not make a purchase. On one of these trips, he questioned the cashier about who would be working the next shift. The cashier told Johnson that she would be relieved at 5:00 p.m. by Mabel Scruggs and that the store would close at 11:00 p.m. Johnson left and returned a short time later, but stayed only a few minutes before leaving again. Just before the shift change at 5:00p.m., Johnson went to the store a fourth time, this time carrying a book bag over his shoulder. The cashier noticed Johnson staring at her while she deposited the money from her shift into the store safe. He did not do anything.

Johnson went to his girlfriend's house and purchased a twenty-dollar rock of crack cocaine from his girlfriend's eighteen-year-old son, Rodriguez Grant. Johnson left and then later returned to buy two more rocks. He asked Rodriguez to lend him the .25 caliber pistol Johnson had given to him a couple of weeks earlier in exchange for crack cocaine. Rodriguez agrees, and he and Johnson test fires the pistol in the back yard. Johnson returned the gun a while later, claiming that it did not work. Still later, Johnson retrieved the gun and left again, wearing layers of clothing, a mask over his face, and black tennis shoes. Since January of 1994, Johnson had confided to Rodriguez his plans to hold up the convenience store, locking all but one employee in the back room and having the remaining employee open the safe.

The next time Johnson returned to the house, from the direction of the convenience store, around 11:45 p.m., his face and clothes were spattered with blood. He came in through the back door and went downstairs to Rodriguez's room. Johnson gave the pistol back to Rodriguez. Johnson then cleaned his tennis shoes, took off his clothes, put the clothes into a trash bag, and told his girlfriend's sixteen-year-old son, Antwane Grant, to get rid of the bag. Johnson had a large amount of money sorted by denomination and he and Rodriguez counted it. Johnson then hid the money in an air vent. Rodriguez went back upstairs and soon smelled something burning. On returning downstairs, he found Johnson burning paper.

At 1:12 a.m. the following morning, a deputy sheriff responded to a call to check on the convenience store for the possibility of a disturbance involving weapons. The store lights were still on. Through the windows, the officer saw that the cash register was open and the money vault was out and in the middle of the floor. He observed blood smears on the front door lock. City police officers arrived with the keys. Upon entering, they discovered two dead bodies and a .25 caliber shell casing in the bathroom. Another body and another .25 caliber shell casing were found inside the walk-in cooler. The safe was empty.

All three victims were store employees: Mary Bratcher, age 46; Fred Jones, age 58; and Mabel Scruggs, age 57. Each victim died from head injuries that were consistent with a bloody hammer found at the scene. In addition, Mary Bratcher suffered at least ten stab wounds to her left hand consistent with a bloody flat-head screwdriver found in a field neat the store, and Fred Jones suffered a nonfatal, facial gunshot wound.

Leon Taylor

Case Facts: On April 14, 1994, Taylor, his half-brother Willie Owens, and his half-sister Tina Owens were driving Tina's car discussing various robbery possibilities. Taylor suggested a gas station in Independence where only one person would be working. The trio went to the station and purchased some gasoline. Taylor asked whether they were going to rob it. Tina Owens said no because a little girl was inside. Sarah Yates, an eight-year-old, was keeping company with Robert Newton, her stepfather and the gas station manager.

The three left the station, only to return a few moments later after the oil light came on. Willie Owens went into the station and asked for some oil. Taylor next entered the store and stated they needed a different weight of oil. Taylor then drew a pistol and stated that he would shoot Newton unless he gave them the money. Newton complied, handing Owens approximately $400 in a bank money bag. Owens took the money and returned to the car.

Taylor directed Newton and the child to the station's back room. Taylor shot Newton once in the head, killing him. Taylor then pointed the gun at the child. Taylor pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed and did not discharge. Frustrated, Taylor locked the child in the back room and returned to the car. Taylor told Willie and Tina Owens that he had shot the man and that he had to go back inside and get the little girl. However, because Willie and Tina wanted to leave, they then drove away.

Walter Barton

Case Facts:  On the morning of October 9, 1991, Carol Horton, a resident of Riverview Mobile Home Park in Ozark, Missouri, visited the trailer of Gladys Kuehler at approximately 9:00 a.m. Kuehler, eighty-one years of age, served as manager of the park. Kuehler was unable to move about without the assistance of a cane. Horton assisted Kuehler with some tasks and last saw Kuehler at 11:04 a.m.

The owners of the trailer park, Bill and Dorothy Pickering, visited Kuehler's trailer some time between 1:15 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to collect rent receipts. Ted and Sharon Bartlett, former residents of the trailer park, arrived for a visit with Kuehler between 2:00 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. and remained until about 2:45 p.m. Kuehler told the Bartletts that she was going to lie down because she was not feeling well.

Appellant was visiting Horton in her trailer on October 9, 1991. At approximately 2:00 p.m., appellant left her trailer. Appellant said that he was going to Kuehler's trailer to borrow twenty dollars. He returned to Horton's trailer ten or fifteen minutes later saying that Kuehler told him to return later and that she would write him a check. Appellant left Horton's trailer again at approximately 3:00 p.m. He told Horton that he was going to Kuehler's trailer.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Bill Pickering telephoned Kuehler's trailer. A man, later determined to be appellant, answered the telephone and stated that Kuehler was in the bathroom and could not come to the telephone. Debra Selvidge, Kuehler's granddaughter, spoke with Kuehler on the telephone some time after 3:00 p.m. She telephoned Kuehler again between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., but received no answer.

Appellant returned to Horton's trailer at approximately 4:00 p.m. Appellant was acting "totally different," seemed to be in a hurry, and asked Horton if he could use her restroom. Horton detected a smell of blood on Barton's person. After noticing that appellant had been in the bathroom for a long time, Horton went to check on him. Appellant was washing his hands. He said that he had been working on a car.

At approximately 4:15 p.m., Horton told appellant that she was going to Kuehler's trailer. Appellant told her not to go because Kuehler had told him she was going to lie down and take a nap. Appellant left Horton's trailer. Horton then went to check on Kuehler. She received no response when she knocked on Kuehler's door. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. She returned to Kuehler's trailer again at 6:00 p.m. and again received no response.

Debra Selvidge, who had been attempting to reach Kuehler by telephone, drove to Kuehler's trailer. She knocked on the door but received no answer. At approximately 7:30 p.m., Selvidge went to Horton's trailer and expressed her concern. Horton, Horton's son, and Selvidge went to Kuehler's trailer. They knocked and received no response. On their way to make telephone calls, they saw a police officer, Officer Hodges, who agreed to meet them at Kuehler's trailer after he answered another call. The two women saw appellant at another trailer in the trailer park. Selvidge asked him if he would go with them back to Kuehler's trailer. Appellant agreed to go but said that he would go later.

The women drove to Kuehler's trailer. After a time, appellant arrived. The women knocked on Kuehler's door. Appellant walked over to the side of the trailer, where he began to pound on the wall of the trailer under the bedroom window near where Kuehler's body was later found.

Officer Hodges arrived and unsuccessfully attempted to open the door. He radioed a dispatcher to send a locksmith. The officer left on another call. When the locksmith arrived, he opened the door. After the locksmith opened the door, Selvidge and Horton, followed by appellant, entered the trailer. After calling out for Kuehler and receiving no answer, Selvidge started down the hallway toward Kuehler's bedroom, followed by Horton and appellant. Appellant told Selvidge not to go down the hall. Selvidge did, however, and noticed Kuehler's clothing on the floor in front of the toilet in the bathroom. Selvidge also noticed that the lid of the toilet had been left up. Selvidge discovered Kuehler's body in the bedroom. Kuehler's partially nude body lay on the floor between the bed and the wall; there was a large amount of dried blood on the bed and the floor. Officer Hodges returned to Kuehler's trailer. Selvidge directed him to Kuehler's bedroom where he saw her body between the bed and the wall.

Reginald Clemons

Case Facts:  The Chain of Rocks Bridge is a highway bridge over the Mississippi River that formerly permitted traffic to travel between Illinois and Missouri before authorities closed the bridge to vehicular traffic. Julie and Robin Kerry arranged to take their visiting cousin, Thomas Cummins, to the bridge to show him a graffiti poem they had painted there several years earlier. On April 4, 1991, at approximately 11:25 p.m., the two sisters and Cummins went to the bridge.

Earlier that evening, Reginald Clemons, along with Marlin Gray, Daniel Winfrey, and Clemons cousin, Antoino Richardson, met at a mutual friend's home. They drank beer and smoked marijuana. Gray suggested that they go to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. About 11:00p.m., Clemons, Richardson, Gray and Winfrey drove in two separate cars to the bridge. Parking near the Missouri end of the bridge, the foursome went through a hole in the fence, over a pile of rocks blocking the bridge entrance to vehicles, and onto the bridge deck. They attempted to smoke a joint of marijuana, but found the marijuana too wet to light. The group walked back toward their cars. They left behind a long metal flashlight that Richardson brought to the bridge.

The Kerry sisters and Cummins arrived at the bridge sometime after Clemons and his friends. The Kerrys and Cummins made their way onto the bridge deck and walked toward the Illinois end of the bridge. They encountered Clemons and his companions, who were headed back toward the Missouri side. The two groups briefly chatted. One of the Kerry sisters gave Winfrey a cigarette. Gary showed the Kerrys and Cummins how to climb over the bridge railing and come back up through a manhole in the bridge deck. He told Cummins that the manhole was "a good place to be alone, and take your woman." The two groups parted, heading in opposite directions. Cummins and the Kerry sisters stopped to look at the graffiti poem and then continued walking toward Illinois.

In the meantime, Clemons and his friends had returned to the Missouri end of the bridge. As they lingered there, Clemons suggested to his companions, "Let's rob them." Gray replied "Yeah, I feel like hurting somebody." Richardson suggested they rape the girls. Clemons agreed. The foursome walked back toward the Illinois end of the bridge. As they walked, Winfrey saw Gray talk to Clemons, after which Gray came to Winfrey and handed him a condom. Winfrey put the condom in his pocket and stated that he "wasn't going to do it." Clemons grabbed Winfrey, pushed him toward the rail of the bridge, and threatened him until Winfrey agreed to "do it."

They caught up with the Kerry sisters and Cummins and ordered Cummins to lye on the ground. They raped the sisters and eventually ordered them into a manhole.

On the metal platform under the bridge, Cummins laid down next to Julie and Robin Kerry. They were ordered to get up and go towards the concrete pier below the platform. Julie was pushed off first, then Robin. Cummins was ordered to jump. He did. When he surfaced after his seventy-foot fall, he saw Julie nearby in the water and called for her to swim. Fighting the current and rough water, Julie grabbed Cummins, dragging them both below the surface. Cummins broke free. Julie did not reappear. Cummins eventually reached a steep riverbank and came ashore by a wooded area near the Chain of Rocks waterworks. Authorities recovered Julie's body from the river near Caruthersville, Missouri, about three weeks later. Robin's body is still missing.

Herbert L. Smulls

Case Facts: Stephen and Florence Honickman owned and operated a jewelry store. Typically, customers would make an appointment to examine the jewelry for sale. In early July 1991, a person identifying himself as "Jeffrey Taylor" called the Honickmans and made an appointment to buy a diamond. "Jeffrey Taylor" was later identified as Herbert Smulls. On July 22, 1991, Smulls and Norman Brown went to the Honickmans' store. After viewing several diamonds, Smulls and Brown left the store without making a purchase.

On the afternoon of July 27, 1991, Smulls and Brown followed another customer into the store. Florence Honickman was unable to show any jewelry at that time but suggested she might be able to help them later. Smulls and Brown returned to the store that evening. After viewing some diamonds, Smulls and Brown went into a hallway, purportedly to discuss the diamond prices. A short time later, Florence looked up and saw Smulls aiming a pistol at her. She then ran and hid behind a door. Smulls fired three shots at her, striking her arm and side. Smulls then fired several shots at Stephen Honickman, who was struck three times.

Smulls and Brown stole jewelry worn by Florence and other items in the store. After the two men left the store, Florence contacted the police. Stephen died from his wounds and Florence suffered permanent injuries from the attack.

Jeffrey Ferguson

Case Facts: On February 9, 1989, at about 9:00 p.m., Melvin Hedrick met Jeffrey Ferguson and a friend, Kenneth Ousley, at Ferguson's home. Ferguson asked Hedrick if he would be interested in buying a .32 caliber pistol. Although Hedrick said that he was not interested, he suggested that they take the pistol with them because they might be able to sell it at a bar. Ferguson and Hedrick then made their way to Brother's Bar in St. Charles, where they stayed for about forty-five minutes to an hour. At the bar, Hedrick began to feel ill, and Ferguson arranged for Ousley to meet them at a Shell service station on 5th Street, near Interstate 70. Between 10:50 and 10:55 p.m., Ferguson and Hedrick made the short trip to the Shell station, where Ousley was waiting in Ferguson's brown and white Blazer. Ferguson put the .32 caliber pistol in his waistband and then walked toward the passenger side of the Blazer as Hedrick left for home.

Seventeen-year-old Kelli Hall, the victim in the case, worked at a Mobil service station across the street from the Shell station where Ousley and Ferguson met. Hall's shift was scheduled to end at 11:00 p.m., and at about that time, one of Hall's co-workers, Tammy Adams, arrived at the Mobil station to relieve her. A few minutes later, Robert Stulce, who knew Hall, drove up to the Mobil station to meet a friend and noticed Hall checking and recording the fuel levels in the four tanks at the front of the station. Stulce also saw a brown and white Blazer, which he later identified as identical to Ferguson's Blazer, pull in front of him and stop in the parking lot near Hall. When Stulce looked again, Hall was facing a white male who was standing between the open passenger door and the body of the Blazer. The man stood very close to Hall and appeared to have one hand in his pocket and the other hand free. Stulce then saw Hall get into the back passenger seat of the vehicle.

In the meantime, Hall's boyfriend, Tim Parres, waited for her in his car, which he had parked behind the station. After waiting for Hall for about half an hour, Parres went inside the station looking for her, but to no avail. He and Tammy Adams then determined that Hall was not at home, but that her purse was still at the station, and at that point they called the police.

Early on the morning of February 22, Warren Stemme was working on his farm in the Missouri River bottoms. As he walked by a machinery shed, he discovered Kelli Hall's body, frozen, clothed only in socks, and partially obscured by steel building partitions that had been leaned up against the shed.

Walter Storey

Case Facts: On Friday, February 2, 1990, Storey became upset over his pending divorce. After finishing all of his beer, he decided to steal money for more beer from Ms. Frey, a special education teacher, who lived in a neighboring apartment. He climbed her balcony and entered an unlocked sliding glass door. He stole her car keys, entered her bedroom, and, in his words, "struggled" with her.

Ms. Frey died of blood loss and asphyxiation from two neck wounds, which cut through both of her jugular veins, her airway, her esophagus, and into her spine. Before she lost consciousness, she had her eyelid torn off and suffered injuries to her forehead, nose, cheeks, scalp, lips, and tongue. She also had defensive wounds to her arms and hand. Ms. Frey suffered an abrasion on her right knee, a six-inch stab wound to her abdomen, four internal impact injuries to her head, and five fractured ribs. Storey struck Ms. Frey a minimum of twenty times before cutting her throat to the spine.

The next day he returned to her apartment, wiped it down, scrubbed Ms. Frey's fingernails, and attempted to remove any other incriminating evidence. When her body was found, she was lying face down in a pool of blood, naked below the waist, with her arms behind her back. The walls were splattered with blood, and her shirt had a tennis shoe imprint on it. The police found Storey's bloody palm print in the room. After searching the dumpster, the police also found Ms. Frey's briefcase along with a paper bag containing a bloody t-shirt, a tank-top, and a pair of white gloves. Ms. Frey's blood was on the gloves, and Storey's blood was on the t-shirt. Storey's sneakers also had blood on them.

Michael Shane Worthington

Case Facts: On September 29, 1995, appellant, Worthington, and a friend from work, Jill Morehead, were at his condominium in Lake St. Louis, watching television. At about 4:00 p.m., they left to pick up their paychecks from their employer, a local supermarket. They returned to the condo and had dinner and drinks. They then went to a nightclub where each had three drinks. After about two hours, Worthington and Morehead drove to Jennings where Worthington told Morehead he had to pick up money owed to him by a friend. Worthington testified he actually went to pick up drugs. Morehead stayed in her vehicle, while Worthington was in the house for about 15 minutes. They drove back to his condo where he left Morehead. Morehead left the condo when Worthington did not return after about 45 minutes.

Later that night, Worthington saw that the kitchen window was open in the condominium of his neighbor, Melinda Griffin. Worthington had seen Ms. Griffin around the condominium complex. He got a razor blade and gloves, and when he returned to her condo, he saw that a bathroom light had been turned on. Worthington cut through the screen. He confronted Ms. Griffin in the bedroom. He covered her mouth to stop her screams and strangled her until she became unconscious. Worthington began to rape her and she regained consciousness. Ms. Griffin fought Worthington, and he beat her and strangled her to death. The wounds on her neck showed that Worthington used a rope or cord in addition to his hands to strangle her. He stole her jewelry, credit cards, mobile phone, keys, and her car.

The next morning, September 30, 1995, a police officer pulled Worthington over. Worthington was driving Ms. Griffin's car. The officer noticed a woman's items in the car such as make-up and shoes, but the car had not been reported stolen.

The next day, October 1, a neighbor discovered Ms. Griffin's body. When police arrived, they found the screen in the kitchen window had been cut to gain entry. They found Ms. Griffin's body lying bruised, bloody, and unclothed at the foot of the bed, with a lace stocking draped across it. All the bedroom drawers had been pulled open. DNA testing later established that semen found on Ms. Griffin's body came from Worthington.

Police officers found Worthington that evening, but when he saw the police, he pulled out a knife, held it to his throat, and threatened to commit suicide. Police officers convinced him to put the knife down and brought him into custody. Worthington was wearing a fanny pack containing jewelry and keys belonging to Ms. Griffin.

At the police station, Worthington relayed his story of four days of drinking and getting high. After being presented with the evidence against him, Worthington confessed to the killing but could not remember the details since, he said, he was prone to blackouts when using alcohol and cocaine. At the time the offenses occurred, Worthington said he was extremely high on Prozac, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. Worthington also said that two friends, Darick and Anthony, helped him with the burglary. However, this story was inconsistent with the physical evidence and with subsequent statements made by Worthington. Worthington pleaded guilty to the crimes charged. The judge imposed the death penalty for the murder conviction, as well as the prison terms for the other offenses. Worthington does not challenge the plea and sentences on the other offenses; his appeal here concerns only the death penalty.

John E. Winfield

Case Facts:  In September 1996, John E. Winfield lived in a St. Louis County home one block from a second floor apartment where his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children, Carmelita Donald, lived. Living with Carmelita and her children were Carmelita's sister, Melody Donald, and friend Arthea Sanders. In the apartment below them lived their friend, Shawnee Murphy, and her three children.

Winfield began dating Carmelita in 1989 and continued to have an on-and-off relationship with her through the spring of 1996. During that time, they had two children over whom they shared physical custody. In the late summer of 1996, Carmelita began dating Tony Reynolds. They succeeded in keeping that relationship a secret from Winfield for about a month. On the night of September 9, 1996, Carmelita went out for the evening with Reynolds. Meanwhile, Winfield began making a series of calls to Carmelita's apartment asking Melody about her sister's whereabouts and instructing her to have Carmelita call him when she returned home. Melody told Winfield that she did not know where Carmelita was.

Around midnight, Carmelita returned to the apartment with Tony Reynolds. They saw Winfield's white Cadillac parked in front. To avoid trouble with Winfield, they drove to Reynolds' female cousin's house. There they persuaded her to drive Carmelita home. When the two women arrived back at Carmelita's apartment, Winfield's car was still there. As Carmelita started to climb the stairs to her apartment, Winfield came down, said he needed a word, and pushed her down the stairs. They walked outside, and Winfield asked Carmelita about her relationship with Tony Reynolds. Meanwhile, Arthea walked outside and slashed the tires on Winfield's car. Upon her return to the downstairs apartment, Arthea told Melody to call the police and yelled outside, asking Carmelita if she was alright. Carmelita said she was fine. Despite Arthea's request, Melody did not call the police.

A car door "slammed" shut. Melody assumed it was Winfield leaving. However, Winfield had run into the downstairs apartment, Carmelita in pursuit. From outside, she warned Arthea to run because Winfield was armed and coming to get her. Winfield entered Shawnee's downstairs apartment and began chastising Arthea. He then shot her in the head. Then he walked outside and pointed the gun at Carmelita. Carmelita pleaded with him to no avail; he shot her several times. Although permanently blinded, Carmelita survived.

Meanwhile, Melody and James ran into Shawnee's kitchen, hoping to escape through the back door. The door was jammed and would not open. Shawnee, while attempting to collect her children, began pleading with Winfield. Winfield shot her in the head. Next, Winfield turned and pointed the gun at Melody. She fell to the floor. Winfield pointed the gun at James and said, "[Y]ou next." James grabbed the gun, and he began wrestling with Winfield. During this time, James heard the gun "click." Winfield broke free and struck James with the gun. Winfield fled, and James attempted to follow. Melody escaped while James struggled with Winfield and ran to a neighbor's house to call the police. An officer with the University City Police Department arrested Winfield at his home. Both Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy died as a result of their wounds.

Cecil L. Clayton

Case Facts:  Cecil Clayton and Martha Ball had been involved in a romantic relationship and had, at times, lived together. By November 1996, their relationship was coming to an end. On November 27, 1996, Martha asked Clayton to meet her at the Country Corner, a store in Purdy, Missouri. She requested that Clayton bring some important papers she had left at his home. Clayton arrived at the store without the papers. Clayton requested that Martha go with him to his home to obtain the papers but she refused. He left and returned with the papers. Clayton was driving his blue Toyota truck with wooden sides.

When Clayton returned with the papers he asked Martha to go out to eat with him. She refused. Clayton became angry, pushed her, and the two began to argue in the store. Barbara Starkey, an employee of the store, noticed the argument and called the Barry County sheriff's department. Jim McCracken, Purdy chief of police, responded to the call and spoke with Clayton. He lingered in the store until after Clayton left. Martha asked Chief McCracken if he would escort her to Cassville where she was staying with her mother, Dixie Seal. Before Chief McCracken could arrange the escort, Martha left the store saying that she was going to a friend's home. Martha then went to Vicky Deeter's home in Monett. Vicky testified that Martha was very scared, pale, and shaking when she arrived at her home.

After leaving the Country Corner store, Clayton went to see his friend, Martin Cole, at around 9:40 p.m. Clayton asked Martin to go with him. Martin declined because he had to drive a friend to work. Clayton became angry, raised his voice, and left.

Martha called Dixie Seal, her mother, at around 9:50 p.m. and advised her sister, Carolyn Leonard, that she was at Vicky's home. Shortly thereafter, Carolyn heard a vehicle outside, its engine running roughly. She observed the vehicle stop, back into the driveway and turn its lights off. Because there were lights across the top of the cab Carolyn surmised that the vehicle was a truck. She phoned Martha and verified that Clayton was driving the truck. Carolyn then telephoned the Barry County sheriff's department and advised them that Clayton was on their property and was not welcome. Deputy Christopher Castetter was dispatched to the Seal residence. He contacted the dispatcher when he arrived at 10:03 p.m.

Ralph Paul, Dixie Seal's neighbor, and his son-in-law, Greg Pickert, had also heard and seen the truck in Seal's driveway. Ralph phoned Mrs. Seal to inquire about the truck. They described the vehicle as a truck because of the lights across the top and noticed that it was backed into the driveway and running roughly. Shortly thereafter Ralph and Greg went back outside. The truck was gone and the two noticed a car sitting at an angle with the engine running at a high rate of speed and the tires spinning.

Deputies David Bowman and Jason Manning also heard the dispatch regarding the Seal residence and decided to go by the area to assist Deputy Castetter. When they arrived, at approximately 10:06 p.m., Deputy Castetter's patrol car was sitting at an angle against a tree in the driveway. The car's engine was still running at a high rate and the tires were spinning and smoking.

Deputy Manning approached the driver's side of the car. The window was rolled down about an inch, but was not broken. He put the car in park and turned off the engine. Deputy Castetter was leaned over in his seat. His seatbelt was not on; his weapon was still snapped in its holster; his flashlight was no longer secured in its cradle. Deputy Manning attempted to assist Deputy Castetter who was bleeding heavily from his head and having trouble breathing. Deputy Bowman contacted the dispatcher at 10:07 p.m. and advised that an ambulance was needed.

Deputy Bowman went to Mrs. Seal's home and spoke with Carolyn Leonard and Dixie Seal. Deputy Bowman then contacted the dispatcher and advised that Clayton was believed to have been driving the truck that had been in the driveway.

Deputy Castetter was transported to the hospital by helicopter. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, about the middle of his forehead. Despite medical treatments, Deputy Castetter died.

At about 10:10 to 10:15 p.m., Clayton returned to Martin Cole's house. Clayton asked Martin to accompany him, and the two left in Clayton's truck. While in the truck Clayton asked Cole "would you believe me, if I told you that I shot a policeman, would you believe me?" Clayton described how he shot the "cop" in the head and how Deputy Castetter then hit the accelerator and hit a tree. Clayton then took the weapon out of his overalls, pointed it at Martin's head, and threatened to shoot him. He asked Martin if he thought it was loaded. Clayton told Martin that he wanted him to act as an alibi and tell the police that the two had been together all afternoon and evening watching television.

At about 10:15 p.m. Chief McCracken heard a dispatch to be on the lookout for a blue Toyota truck with wooden sides driven by Clayton. McCracken recognized the description of the truck as the one driven by Clayton earlier that evening at the Country Corner store. McCracken met Chief Clint Clark of the Wheaton police department who had also heard the dispatch. The two confirmed Clayton's home address and then went to his residence.

Clayton was driving toward his home when he saw the two police cars approaching. He parked in the driveway and asked Martin "should I shoot them?" Martin answered no.

The officers activated their car spotlights, and Clayton eventually got out of his truck. The officers identified themselves. Clayton began walking toward the side of his house, advising the officers that he could not hear them. He kept his right hand in his pocket. Clayton refused to remove his hand or approach the officers. He continued toward his house, placed something in a stack of concrete blocks, and returned to his truck. Martin complied with the officers' request to get out of the truck and was apprehended. Clayton was then apprehended and transported to the sheriff's department. Martin advised the officers that Clayton had a gun. The officers located the gun in the stack of concrete blocks next to Clayton's house.

Mike Rogers of the Missouri highway patrol interviewed Clayton. Clayton's version of the events varied from complete denial to stating that Deputy Castetter "probably should have just stayed home" and that "he shouldn't have smarted off to me." Clayton then stated "but I don't know because I wasn't out there."

Following an investigation, Clayton was charged by information in the Circuit Court of Barry County with one count of murder in the first degree and one count of armed criminal action. Venue was transferred from Barry County to Jasper County. A jury found Clayton guilty of murder in the first degree and, finding three aggravating circumstances, recommended that Clayton be sentenced to death for Christopher Castetter's murder. The trial court imposed the death sentence.

Russell E. Bucklew

Case Facts:  Russell Bucklew apparently did not want to live apart from Stephanie Ray. The two had lived together in Cape Girardeau County until Ray decided to break up with Bucklew on Valentine's Day, 1996. Bucklew left their mobile home and went to live with his parents.

On March 6, Bucklew returned to the trailer he had shared with Ray, found Michael Sanders, the victim in this case, there, concluded that Sanders and Ray were romantically involved, put a knife to Sanders's throat and threatened to kill Sanders if Sanders ever came back to Ray's trailer. Later that same evening, Bucklew returned to the trailer, found Ray alone, threatened her with a knife, cut her jaw, and punched her in the face before leaving. Ray reported all of this to the police.

Bucklew called Ray at work the following day, March 7. He threatened her again and promised to kill her, Sanders, and her children if he saw her with Sanders again. Ray moved in with Sanders, fearing to return to her own home.

Sometime during the night of March 20-21, Bucklew stole his nephew's car, two of his brother's pistols, two sets of his brother's handcuffs, and a roll of duct tape. He left a note asking his family not to report his theft to the police. By the afternoon of March 21, Bucklew began surreptitiously following Ray as she left work and ran errands, ultimately discovering where she lived by following her to Sanders trailer. Bucklew waited for some period of time before he knocked on Sander's trailer door. One of Sander's children opened the door. Sanders saw Bucklew through the window , escorted the children to a back bedroom and grabbed a shotgun. Bucklew entered the trailer with a pistol in each hand. Sanders came into the hallway carrying a shotgun. Bucklew yelled "get down" and without further warning began shooting at Sanders. Sanders fell, struck by two bullets, one of which entered his chest and tore through his lung. Sanders dropped the shotgun. It went off and blew a hole in the trailer wall.

Bucklew aimed the gun at Sanders's head but when he saw Sander's six-year-old son. Bucklew fired at the boy instead. The shot missed.

Ray stepped between Bucklew and Sanders, who was holding his chest as he slumped against the wall. Bucklew invited Ray to drop to her knees. When she delayed, he struck her face with the pistol. He produced handcuffs, handcuffed her hands behind her back and dragged her to the car. The two drove away.

During the journey that followed, Bucklew demanded sex. When all of the acts he demanded were not performed, Bucklew raped Ray in the back seat of the car. Resuming the journey, Bucklew drove north on Interstate 55.

By this time law enforcement authorities had broadcast a description of the Bucklew car. Trooper James Hedrich saw the car, called for assistance, and began following Bucklew. They ultimately apprehended Bucklew after a gunfight in which both a trooper and Bucklew were wounded by gunshot.

Michael Sanders bled to death from his wounds.

David Barnett

Case Facts:  During January and the first few days of February 1996, David Barnett had been living with friends in the Glendale area. He had spoken several times to his friends about his grandparent's car, a 1995 Dodge Intrepid, and had told them that his grandparents were going to rent this car to him. About 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 4, 1996, Barnett walked to the home of his grandparents, who were away attending Sunday school and church services at the Kirkwood Baptist church. Barnett entered the home, apparently through a bedroom window, sat down on the couch, turned on the television, and soon fell asleep. When he awoke, he phoned his stepbrother Scott and boasted that he had just won the lottery last night and had suddenly come into a large sum of money.

Barnett was waiting for his grandparents when they returned home around 1:00 p.m. He confronted his grandmother and pushed her down in the hallway. He then pushed his grandfather to the floor and grabbed a knife that was lying on the nearby kitchen table. As his grandfather rose from the floor, Barnett kicked him in the head, and when he fell to the floor again, Barnett stabbed him repeatedly in the neck area. All told, Barnett inflicted ten stab wounds and numerous cuts to his grandfather's neck, face, and hands. Satisfied that he had killed his grandfather, Barnett returned to the kitchen to get another knife and then began stabbing his grandmother in her neck as well. Once again, Barnett returned to the kitchen to get more knives. This time he retrieved two knives with which he continued to stab his grandmother until she, too, was killed. She suffered a total of 12 stab wounds to her neck and numerous cuts to her face.

After the attack, Barnett concealed one of the knives by placing it between two mattress pads in his grandparent's bedroom. Next, he went to the bathroom and washed the blood off his hands. He then removed the keys to the 1995 Dodge Intrepid that were dangling from the lock in the back door, retrieved his coat, and took approximately 120 dollars from his grandmother's purse. Before leaving the house, Barnett stood silently next to his victims to hear if they were still breathing. After determining that his victims were dead, Barnett lowered two of the shades in the house, locked up, and drove off in the victims' car.

Early the next morning, police officers found the victims' car parked in a residential area of Glendale. Barnett walked up to the uniformed officers and confessed that he had committed the murders.

John Middleton

Case Facts: John Middleton was a user and dealer of methamphetamine. On June 10, 1995, police arrested several people in Harrison County, Missouri, for possession and sale of the drug. Middleton was not one of the people arrested. About ten days after the Harrison County arrests, Middleton told a friend that "the snitches around here are going to start going down." Middleton stated that he had a "hit list" and that Alfred Pinegar was on it. Two days after making these statements, Middleton told the same friend that he was "on his way to Ridgeway, Missouri, to take Alfred Pinegar fishing."

Alfred Pinegar was also a dealer of methamphetamine and was associated with Middleton as a fellow drug dealer. Pinegar lived with his fiancé Priscilla Hobbs in Davis City, Iowa, just north of Harrison County, Missouri. On June 23, 1995, the day of Pinegar's murder, Hobbs was driving toward her home in Davis City when she saw Middleton and his girlfriend Maggie Hodges in a white Chevrolet 4×4 pickup traveling in the opposite direction. Hobbs noticed that Hodges was sitting in the middle of the truck seat instead of in the right passenger's seat. When Hobbs reached her home, Pinegar was not there and the yard had been partly mowed, as if Pinegar stopped in the middle of the job. Pinegar habitually carried a twelve-gauge shotgun, and that shotgun and about two hundred dollars were missing from the home.

Around noon that same day, Wesley Booth was working in the sporting goods department of a Wal-Mart store in Bethany, Missouri. He was approached by Hodges, Middleton, and another man, presumably Pinegar. Middleton asked Booth for six boxes of nine-millimeter shells and two boxes of twelve-gauge "double-ought" buckshot. Middleton paid cash for the ammunition. During the entire transaction Middleton was standing at the counter across from Booth.

Middleton, Hodges, and Pinegar left Wal-Mart and drove several miles northeast of Bethany near the town of Ridgeway where they parked in a field. Pinegar got out of the truck and began to run when he saw Middleton raise the twelve-gauge shotgun. Middleton shot Pinegar twice in the back. Middleton then delivered the fatal wound to Pinegar, shooting him in the face. Middleton dumped Pinegar's body over a fence. After committing the murder, Middleton and Hodges went back to the Wal-Mart store in Bethany to return the nine-millimeter ammunition.

Joseph P. Franklin

Case Facts:  In September of 1977, believing that Jews were "enemies of the white race," Franklin drove to Dallas, Texas after robbing a bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. In Dallas, Franklin bought a 30-06 rifle with a telescopic sight. He then drove to St. Louis, Missouri, checked into a hotel, scouted the city for synagogues, and finally chose Brith Shalom Kneseth Israel Congregation in Richmond Heights.

To prepare for the crime, Franklin bought some ten-inch nails, a guitar case and a bicycle. He tested the bicycle to assure himself that is could be used to enable him to leave the scene of the crime. He drove the nails into a telephone pole to serve as a rifle rest. Later, he ground the serial number off the rifle. He then cleaned the rifle, ammunition and guitar case of any fingerprints and, thereafter, he used gloves to handle the equipment. Lastly, he put the rifle into the guitar case and hid them both in some bushes near the synagogue.

On October 8, 1977, Franklin waited outside the synagogue for people to emerge. Shortly before 1:00 p.m., some of the guests left the synagogue and walked toward their cars. Franklin began firing on the guests. He fired five shots from approximately one hundred yards. Gerald Gordon was shot in the left side of his chest and later died from blood loss resulting from damage to his lung, stomach, spleen, and other internal organs. Steven Goldman was grazed on the shoulder. William Ash was wounded in the left hand and later lost his small finger on that hand. Having fired all his ammunition, Franklin abandoned the rifle and the guitar case. He then rode his bicycle to a nearby parking lot where his automobile was parked, hid the bicycle in some bushes and left St. Louis by car.

William Rousan

Case Facts: On September 21, 1993, Rousan , Rousan's son Brent Rousan, and Rousan's brother, Robert Rousan, met and discussed stealing cattle from Charles and Grace Lewis. Charles Lewis, sixty-seven, and his wife Grace, sixty-two, lived near the farm where Rousan resided. Having devised a plan, the Rousans's set out for the Lewis farm. On the way, they discussed killing Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. They agreed that "if it had to be done it had to be done."

As the three drove past the Lewis farm, William Rousan pointed out the cattle they would be stealing. He parked the truck approximately two miles from the farm. He got out of the truck and removed a .22 caliber rifle that belonged to his girlfriend, Mary Lambing. He loaded the rifle for use in the crime "in case anyone was home." Rousan and his son then argued over who would carry the gun, Brent, the son, said that he was "man enough to do whatever needed to be done and that he would use the weapon." Rousan at first stated that Brent was not man enough, but eventually gave him the gun. He warned Brent that if they were caught, they would "fry." The three men then hiked through the woods to the Lewis farm where they waited under cover behind a fallen tree.

Between 3-4 p.m. that afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis returned home. Mr. Lewis began to mow the lawn. Mrs. Lewis spoke on the phone to the couple's oldest daughter, who called at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Brent grew tired of waiting and exclaimed that he wanted to "do it." Rousan told Brent to wait until he and Robert had secured the house. Rousan headed for the front door and Robert made his way to the back door. Before they arrived at the home, Mr. Lewis saw Brent and called out. Brent fired at least six shots from the rifle, all of which struck Mr. Lewis. He died as a result of those gunshot wounds.

Mrs. Lewis, speaking by telephone with her daughter, told her daughter that she heard gunfire and hung up the telephone. As Mrs. Lewis exited the house through the front door, Brent shot her several times. Although the bullets fractured both of Mrs. Lewis's arms, the wounds were not fatal. Mrs. Lewis ran back into the house. Rousan followed her, removed a garment bag from a coat rack, and placed the bag over Mrs. Lewis's head and the upper part of her body, picked her up and carried her outside. When Rousan placed Mrs. Lewis on the ground, she was alive. Rousan turned to Brent and instructed him to "finish her off." Brent fired one shot into the left side of Mrs. Lewis's head. The shot killed her.

The three men wrapped the bodies in a tarpaulin and tied it with a rope. Rousan instructed that they should pick up the shell casings and clean up the blood stains. After doing so, the men deposited the bodies near a shed and left, planning to return later to get the bodies and the cattle.

The three men, along with Jerry Rousan, another of Rousan's brothers, returned to the Lewis farm that night. There they loaded the bodies into Mr. Lewis's truck. They took two cows, a VCR, jewelry, soda, two gas cans, and a saddle. The four men then returned to Mary Lambing's farm, where Rousan lived. On the return trip, Brent bragged about the murders.

At the Lambing farm, the men buried Mr. and Mrs. Lewis in a shallow grave by the barn. After digging the grave and placing the bodies in it, the men poured concrete over the bodies. They covered the grave with a pile of manure. They burned rags used to clean the blood from the Lewis house.

The men disposed of the Lewises' property in various ways. On the night of the murders, the men consumed the soda. The cows were later sold at auction. Robert gave the VCR to his sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Bruce Williams, on the day following the murders. Mr. and Mrs. Williams sold the VCR to a local pawn broker approximately eight months later. Rousan buried the couple's personal items. He gave the remainder of the jewelry to Mary Lambing on special occasions during the following year. The four men hid and later burned Mr. Lewis's truck.

When the Lewises' daughter could not reach her parents the following day, she became concerned. She called the police, who undertook an investigation into the Lewises' disappearance. The police investigation continued for nearly a year without an arrest.

On September 20, 1994 Rousan was arrested.

Brandon S. Hutchison

Case Facts:  On December 31, 1995, Freddie Lopez and his wife Kerry Lopez, threw a small New Year's Eve party in the garage adjacent to their house. Ronald and Brian Yates arrived at the party shortly after midnight. They were looking for their brother, Tim Yates, who had already left. Freddie Lopez invited them to stay for a few beers.

During the party several of the guests became intoxicated, including Hutchison. Freddie Lopez and Ronald Yates shared a line of methamphetamine. Hutchison caused a minor disturbance when he punched another guest, Jeremy Andrews, for no apparent reason. Andrews also observed Hutchison making shooting motions with his hand towards the Yates brothers.

At about 4:00 a.m. Freddie and Kerry Lopez went into the house to continue an argument that they had started in the garage about how much alcohol Kerry was drinking. Several of the party-goers went home, leaving only Hutchison, Michael Salazar, and Ronald and Brian Yates in the garage.

About twenty minutes later, Hutchison ran into the house and pounded on the Lopez's bedroom door, saying that "something bad had happened in the shop." Salazar called for Freddie Lopez from the porch. When Lopez came out, Salazar was holding a .25 caliber revolver. He told Lopez that he had shot someone. Lopez entered the garage and saw both Yates brothers lying on the floor. Salazar told Lopez that one of the brothers had tried to stab him.

Autopsies of the brothers shows that they had been shot a point blank range with a .25 caliber gun. The bullet that his Ronald Yates lodged in his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down. Brian Yates sustained a relatively minor bullet wound to the chest and a more serious one to the stomach. Medical evidence established that both brothers were still alive, however, when Lopez found them on the garage floor he testified that he saw Ronald Yates gasp.

Hutchison insisted that nobody call an ambulance and that Ronald Yates was already dead. He then suggested that they remove the brothers from the garage in Lopez's white Honda Accord. Hutchison and Salazar put Ronald Yates in the trunk first, then Hutchison put Brian Yates in the trunk on top of Ronald after dragging him by his shoulders, dropping him on the floor, and kicking him in the upper body. Meanwhile, Salazar went into the house to fetch a drug scale and a .22 caliber handgun which he also put in the car. The three men took off in the car with Hutchison driving.

After driving for a short time, they pulled over on the side of a dirt road. Hutchison and Salazar got out and walked to the back of the car. Lopez testified that as Hutchison climbed out of the car, he held the .22 caliber pistol and said "we got to kill them, we got to kill them." Lopez heard several gunshots and then Hutchison and Salazar got back into the car. Lopez testified that Hutchison was still clutching the gun when he returned to his seat.

At around 8:00 a.m., Ronald and Brian Yates' dead bodies were found on the side of the road. Both had died of execution-style gunshot wounds to the head from .22 caliber bullets. Ronald Yates had sustained a shot in each eye and one to the back of the head. Brian Yates had sustained one shot in the right eye and on in the right ear.

Hutchison and Salazar were apprehended several days later in California.

I will continue later with more, because it´s a lot of work to bring it in this topic............



"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Albert Einstein


Thank you jacques !!!! And you even put pictures !!!! Thank you great job!!!
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.


October 02, 2010, 08:54:47 AM Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 09:16:00 AM by Jacques
No photo available
Allen L. Nicklasson

Case Facts: 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 next day they traveled 17 miles to the JJ overpass. 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 extensive mechanical problems. They drove back toward the site of the robbery and the car stalled again. Between 4 and 5 p.m., Richard Drummond, a technical support supervisor for AT & T saw the stranded motorists and offered to take them to use a phone. He was driving a white 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. They proceeded four miles on to 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 Drummond and that Nicklasson carried a loaded .22 caliber pistol, Skillicorn watched as Nicklasson lead Drummond toward a wooded area. There, Nicklasson shot 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.

Johnny A. Johnson

Case Facts: A six-year-old girl disappeared in July 2002 from her Valley Park home after Johnny Johnson stayed the night in the home. That morning, Johnson awoke to find the girl standing near the couch on which he had been sleeping. He took the girl, still in her nightgown, to an abandoned glass factory nearby that is surrounded by wooded areas and a series of trails. He took the girl into a pit with walls more than 6 feet high, exposed himself, tore off the girl's underwear and forced her to the ground. He attempted to rape her and then hit her in the head with a brick multiple times. Eventually, he knocked her to the ground and fractured the right side of her skull. Because she still was moving, Johnson lifted a basketball-sized boulder and brought it down on the girl's head and neck. She stopped breathing soon after. Johnson buried the girl with rocks, leaves and debris from the pit, then went to the nearby Meramec River to wash blood and other evidence from his body. Police found Johnson and took him to the police station, where he was identified by a witness who had seen him carrying the girl earlier in the morning. He signed a waiver form after being advised of his rights and told police he wanted to make a statement.

After several hours of denying seeing or being with the girl that morning, Johnson ultimately told police the girl was in the old glass factory and that she had died in an accident. Before police were able to find the girl's body, a private citizen who had joined the search for the girl chanced upon her body in the pit. A detective who investigated the scene told Johnson he did not believe the girl's death was an accident. Johnson told the detective that he had exposed himself to the girl and had pulled down her underwear and killed her only after they both began "freaking out." He did not admit that he intended to take the girl, rape her or kill her before entering the pit. Around 11:30 that night, while Johnson was awaiting booking, he began discussing the Bible and eternal salvation with another police detective. Johnson admitted he had not been completely honest to that point, returned to police headquarters, again waived his rights, and made verbal and audiotaped statements in which he admitted that he intended to take the girl to have sex with her and then kill her. An autopsy showed the girl died from blunt force injuries to her head.

At trial, Johnson did not deny killing the girl but disputed that he deliberated before doing so. He also presented a diminished capacity defense asserting that he could not deliberate because of schizo-affective disorder that caused command hallucinations telling him to rape and kill the girl. The jury convicted Johnson of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, kidnapping and attempted forcible rape. It recommended a sentence of death for the murder conviction, finding all three statutory aggravating factors presented by the state. It recommended life sentences for the remaining convictions. In accord with the jury's recommendations, the court sentenced Johnson to death for the murder and, as a persistent offender, to consecutive life sentences for the other crimes.

This summary is not part of the opinion of the Court (11/7/06). It has been prepared by the Communications Counsel for the convenience of the reader. It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court and should not be quoted or cited. The opinion of the Court, which may be quoted, follows the summary.

Earl M. Forrest

Case Facts: In December 2002, Earl Forrest, who had been drinking, went to Harriet Smith's home and demanded that she fulfill her part of a bargain to buy a lawn mower and a mobile home for Forrest in exchange for Forrest introducing her to a source for methamphetamine.

During the ensuing melee, Forrest shot a guest of Smith's, Michael Wells, in the face, killing him. Forrest also shot Smith six times, killing her. He took $25,000 worth of methamphetamine from Smith's home and returned to his own home, where he had a shootout with law enforcement officers. He shot and killed Deputy Joann Barnes. He also shot his girlfriend, Angela Gamblin, and Sheriff Bob Wofford, both of whom survived.

He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, and the jury found him guilty on all three counts. The jury subsequently recommended a death sentence for each of the three murders.

Mark Anthony Gill

Case Facts: The victim, Ralph Lee Lape, Jr., lived alone in rural Cape Girardeau County. During the summer of 2002, Mr. Lape allowed Gill to live in a camper trailer on his property as a favor to a mutual friend. Mr. Lape spent the Fourth of July holiday weekend at Kentucky Lake, while Gill and a friend, Justin Brown, remained at Mr. Lape's home. During this time, Brown looked through Mr. Lape's personal papers and learned that he had a large amount of money in his bank account. Brown and Gill decided that they would kill Mr. Lape for his money, and on Saturday, July 6, they began preparations for the killing. They obtained a .22 pistol from Mr. Lape's home and bought a roll of duct tape, and they decided to "get him" in the garage because "once you pull in the garage can't nobody see."

Mr. Lape arrived home from Kentucky Lake on Sunday, July 7, at approximately 5:30 p.m. Gill and Brown, who were waiting in the garage, opened the garage door for him. After Mr. Lape stepped out of his extended cab pickup truck, Gill and Brown "grabbed him," and Gill told Mr. Lape that they "just wanted his money." Mr. Lape pleaded to Gill, "You don't have to do this...I'll give you what you want. Mark, I ain't done nothing but try to help you." Gill and Brown then bound Mr. Lape with plastic ties and the duct tape. They pushed up the backseat of Mr. Lape's truck and "slid him in." They divided $240 they found in a ziplock bag that Mr. Lape had been carrying. Gill then put shovels in the back of the truck because he "knew what [he] was fixin' to do, [he] was going to hell."

Gill drove the truck south on Interstate 55 as Brown held Mr. Lape down on the floorboard. After finding Mr. Lape's ATM bankcard in the truck, Gill asked him for the pin number, and he told them the number "right off." Gill and Brown drove Mr. Lape approximately 80 miles to a desolate cornfield near Portageville, where they took turns "knocking down corn" and "digging a hole." While one of them dug the hole, the other sat in the truck and watched Mr. Lape. After digging the hole, they took Mr. Lape out of the truck and removed the duct tape and plastic ties. Ignoring Mr. Lape's pleas for mercy, Gill and Brown pushed him into the hole. Then one of them pointed the .22 pistol at Mr. Lape and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. The trigger was pulled a second time, but there was another misfire. On the third try, the gun fired and shot Mr. Lape in the forehead, killing him. Gill and Brown then "lined him up in the hole" and removed all of his clothing and jewelry. Before they buried Mr. Lape, Brown "stepped on his head" in order to make it fit in the hole. An autopsy revealed that, in addition to the gunshot wound, Mr. Lape had a skull fracture that was "not caused by the bullet," three separate bruises on his head, bruising in his chest, and one of his ribs was completely broken in two.

After killing Mr. Lape, Gill and Brown changed clothes back at the house and withdrew money from Mr. Lape's bank account with his ATM card. They then drove to St. Louis, withdrew more money, and spent nearly a thousand dollars of the money at strip clubs. After spending the night at the Adam's Mark hotel in St. Louis, Gill and Brown drove back to Mr. Lape's house, stopping along the way to withdraw more money from Mr. Lape's bank account.

Once at the house, Gill and Brown began to dispose of the evidence. They dumped the shovels in a wooded area and burned their clothing and the clothing they had removed from Mr. Lape's body. They threw the gun, Mr. Lape's jewelry, and other evidence that would not burn into the Mississippi River. Then they drove to Paducah, Kentucky, abandoned Mr. Lape's truck in a hospital parking lot, and returned to Mr. Lape's house. When Mr. Lape's family members inquired about his whereabouts, Gill and Brown told them that he was at Kentucky Lake.

Having withdrawn nearly all of the money from Mr. Lape's bank account that was accessible with an ATM card, Gill and Brown used Mr. Lape's computer to transfer $55,000 from another account to the ATM-accessible account. After a friend told Gill that there is no limit in Las Vegas on the amount of money that can be withdrawn from an ATM, Gill and his girlfriend drove there and were married. Gill withdrew approximately $1,600 from Mr. Lape's account while on the trip.

Ultimately, Gill was arrested in New Mexico. He initially denied any involvement in Mr. Lape's disappearance and claimed he had permission to use the ATM card. However, he later confessed to planning and participating in the murder, but claimed it was Brown who shot Mr. Lape.

Richard Strong

Case Facts: St. Ann police received a 911 call on October 23, 2000, at 3:30 p.m. The call was immediately disconnected. The dispatcher replayed the call and heard a scream. The dispatcher tried to redial the number repeatedly until officers arrived at the source of the call approximately two minutes later. The call originated from the apartment where Eva lived with her two daughters. The older daughter, Zandrea Thomas, was two years old. Strong is the father of the other girl, who was three months old.

When officers arrived at the apartment and knocked, initially there was no answer at the front or back door. They continued to knock and shouted, and Strong eventually came to the back door. Upon inquiries by the police, Strong initially told them Eva and the kids were sleeping. Strong meanwhile stepped outside and closed the door behind him.

The police again asked about Eva, and Strong told them she had gone to work. Because this was an inconsistent response, the police asked about the children, and Strong told them the kids were inside. The officers asked if they could check on the children, and Strong told them he had locked himself out. Strong knocked on the door and called for someone to open it.

Officers noted that Strong was sweating profusely, had dark stains on the knees of his jeans, and had blood on his left hand. They ordered Strong to step aside and kicked in the door. Strong ran. When the officers chased him, Strong told them, "Just shoot me; just shoot me." After he was handcuffed, he told the officers, "I killed them."

Inside the apartment, police found the dead bodies of Eva and Zandrea in a back bedroom. They had been stabbed repeatedly with a knife. On the bed, one of the officers found a large butcher knife and a three-month-old baby sitting next to a pool of blood. An autopsy revealed that Eva had been stabbed 21 times, with five slash wounds, and the tip of the knife used to stab her was embedded in her skull. The autopsy of two-year-old Zandrea showed she had been stabbed nine times and had 12 slash wounds.

Strong was charged with both murders. After a trial in St. Louis County, a jury returned a guilty verdict. At the penalty phase trial, the jury found the existence of two statutory aggravators for each murder and recommended a death sentence for Strong. The trial court sentenced Strong accordingly.

Kimber Edwards

Case Facts: In 1990, Kimber Edwards and Kimberly Cantrell divorced. Cantrell received primary physical custody of their daughter, Erica, and Edwards was ordered to pay child support. In 1995, his child support obligation was raised to $351 per month. In March 2000, Edwards was charged with failing to pay any of his child support obligation for one year. He pleaded not guilty, and his case was set for a court appearance on August 25, 2000. Erica stayed with her father, his wife and their two children for three weeks prior to August 22, 2000, at their St. Louis city home. When Erica did not hear from her mother by August 23, and Cantrell did not arrive to pick Erica up, Erica called her aunt. The aunt went to Cantrell's home and found her dead, shot twice in the head at close range. Cantrell's 12-year-old neighbor told police he heard shots and a woman's scream early in the evening of August 22, and his older brother had seen a black man with a black backpack banging on Cantrell's door that afternoon.

Ortell Wilson, a tenant in one of Edwards' rental properties who matched the boy's description ultimately was arrested for and convicted of murdering Cantrell. Wilson implicated Edwards in the murder, and Edwards was arrested August 27, 2000. Edwards waived his Miranda rights and told police he had hired someone named "Michael" to kill Cantrell for $1,600 and that Edwards had helped in the murder.

The jury found Edwards guilty of first-degree murder, found the existence of one statutory aggravating circumstance and recommended the death penalty. The court sentenced Edwards to death, and he appeals.

Michael A. Tisius

Case Facts:  In early June of 2000, Michael A. Tisius and Roy Vance were cellmates at the Randolph County Jail in Huntsville, Missouri. Tisius's sentence lasted thirty days, and Vance told Tisius he would be in jail for some fifty years. As such, Tisius and Vance discussed various schemes where Tisius would return to jail to help Vance escape. In one of those plans, Tisius was to return to the jail with a firearm, force the guards into a cell, and give the gun to Vance, who would then take charge and release all of the inmates.

The Randolph County Jail was a two-story brick building that had been converted from a house. The front door of the jail was kept locked, and the officers could remotely open the door when visitors rang a doorbell. Inside the front door was a small foyer, and to the right behind a counter was the dispatch area where the officers were stationed. A hall led from the dispatch area to the jail cells in the rear of the building.

Tisius was released on June 13, 2000. Shortly after his release, Tisius contacted Vance's girlfriend, Tracie Bulington, who said that she wanted to go through with the escape plan. Four days later, Bulington drove from Macon to Columbia with a woman named Heather Douglas to pick up Tisius and drive him back to Macon; Tisius and Bulington stayed at Douglas' home for four or five days. During the ride to Columbia, Douglas heard the two discuss various ways of breaking Vance out of jail, including the idea of locking the jailers in a cell. They told Douglas they were joking. Douglas testified that over the days to follow, she heard Tisius and Bulington say that they were "on a mission," but they would not elaborate. Tisius and Bulington also described taking cigarettes to Vance at the jail and of having gotten information from a "stupid deputy." At other times they would stop talking when Douglas entered the room. Douglas also testified that Tisius and Bulington kept a stereo, clothing and camping gear in Bulington's car and that she also saw a pistol in Bulington's car.

Beginning June 17, 2000, and continuing over several days, Tisius and Bulington visited the jail several times. At or around 1:30 a.m. or 2 a.m. one of those mornings, they were admitted in the front door and delivered a pack of cigarettes to an on-duty officer, requesting that it be given to Vance. A day or two later, Tisius and Bulington returned to the jail with a pair of socks for Vance and asked questions about his upcoming court date.

Bulington testified that each delivery signified to Vance certain facts, such as that Tisius had made it to town or that the jail break would not occur the night of the delivery. During some of those visits, Tisius kept a .22 caliber pistol that Bulington had taken from her parents' home in the front of his pants. Tisius had tried to acquire a bigger gun than the one Bulington took. On the night of one of their visits, one officer testified that the Tisius and Bulington were acting "real funny," nervous and erratic, such that he wrote a police report about the visit.

Tisius tested the gun by firing it outside of Bulington's car window while the two were driving on country roads on June 21, 2000. Later that evening, Tisius and Bulington drove around listening to a song with the refrain "mo murda" (more murder) as they prepared to get Vance out of jail. Tisius rewound the cassette and played the "mo murda" song over and over. Tisius told Bulington "it was getting about time" and that "he was going to go in and just start shooting and that he had to do what he had to do." Tisius also said he would go "in with a blaze of glory."

At 12:15 a.m. on June 22, Tisius and Bulington returned to the Randolph County Jail, rang the doorbell and were admitted. Tisius again carried the pistol in his pants. Tisius and Bulington told the officers they were delivering cigarettes to Vance. The two officers present were Leon Egley and Jason Acton. Tisius made small talk with one of the officers for about ten minutes, discussing what Tisius was planning to do with his life and how Tisius was doing. Bulington testified that at that point, she was about to tell Tisius she was ready to leave but froze as she noticed Tisius had the gun drawn beside his leg. Tisius then raised his arm with the pistol drawn and, from a distance of two to four feet, shot Acton in the forehead above his left eye, killing him instantly. Egley began to approach Tisius, and about ten seconds after he killed Acton, Tisius shot Egley one or more times from a distance of four or five feet, until Egley fell to the ground. Both officers were unarmed.

Tisius then took some keys from the dispatch area and went to Vance's cell. Tisius could not open the cell, so he returned to the dispatch area to search for more keys. While Tisius was in the dispatch area, Egley grabbed Bulington's legs from where he was lying on the floor, and Tisius shot him several more times at a distance of two or three feet. Egley suffered five gunshot wounds, three to the forehead, a graze wound to the right cheek and a wound to the upper right shoulder. Not long afterwards, police found Egley gasping for air and a heard gurgling sound; he was surrounded by a pool of blood. Egley died shortly afterward.

Tisius and Bulington fled in her automobile. Tisius threw the keys from the dispatch area out of the car window on the way out of town. Bulington threw the pistol from the car window while crossing a bridge on Highway 36. After the two had passed through St. Joseph and crossed the Kansas state line, Bulington's car broke down. Later that day, the two were apprehended by the police, and the keys and gun were recovered. After having waived his Miranda rights, Tisius gave oral and written confessions to the murders.

Tisius's theory at trial was that he was guilty at most of second-degree murder because although he admits that he shot and killed the two officers, he argues that he did so without deliberation.

Andre Cole

Case Facts:  Andre Cole and his wife, Terri Cole (Terri), divorced in 1995 after eleven years of marriage. Cole was ordered to pay child support for the care of the couple's two children but his periodic failure to make payments resulted in an arrearage totaling nearly $3000.00. Upon learning that a payroll withholding order was issued to his employer, Cole commented to his coworkers, "Before I give her another dime I'll kill the bitch."

The first payroll deduction for child support appeared on Cole's August 21, 1998 paycheck, and several hours later Cole forced his entry into Terri's house by throwing an automobile jack through the glass door leading to the dining room. Anthony Curtis (Curtis), who was visiting Terri, confronted Cole and asked him to leave. Cole stabbed Curtis multiple times resulting in his death. Cole then assaulted Terri, stabbing her repeatedly in the stomach, breasts, back, and arms, and her hands when she attempted to defend herself. Terri survived.

After the attack, Cole fled the state, but he returned to St. Louis and surrendered to the police thirty-three days later. DNA analysis confirmed the presence of both victims' blood on the knife and the presence of Cole's blood on the deck of Terri's home, the backyard fence, and in the street where Cole's car had been parked.

Paul T. Goodwin

Case Facts:  Joan Crotts, a widow in her sixties, lived alone next door to a boardinghouse in St. Louis County. In the summer of 1996, defendant moved into the boardinghouse. During defendant's short stay at the residence, he frequently harassed Mrs. Crotts and instigated a number of verbal confrontations with her. Typically, the incidents only involved vulgar insults by the defendant, directed toward Mrs. Crotts. Eventually, defendant's behavior intensified for the worse.

One day in August, defendant and several friends assembled and began drinking in the back yard of the boardinghouse. They began throwing chicken bones to Mrs. Crotts' dogs and proceeded to toss beer cans over the fence into her yard. Mrs. Crotts, upset by the activity, came out to complain and began yelling at the defendant and his friends, telling them to stop and quit harassing her. In response, defendant picked up a sledgehammer, smashed a rock with it, and threatened Mrs. Crotts, saying "this is your head...if you keep messing with me." Following some harsh words from defendant and his companions, the episode ended without further incident.

Later that day, Mrs. Crotts left her house in order to attend a barbecue down the street. Apparently, she crossed through the front yard of the boardinghouse, and defendant walked down the driveway and began chastising Mrs. Crotts for walking across the lawn. He threatened her by saying, "Get your fat ass back in the house, bitch. I've got one coming for you." At that point, Mrs. Crotts' daughter, accompanied by an acquaintance, approached them and told defendant to leave her mother alone.

Nothing more happened until that evening, when defendant was evicted from the boardinghouse. When Mrs. Crotts stepped out on her front porch to see what all the commotion was about, defendant yelled at her, "I'm going to get you for this, bitch." According to Mrs. Crotts' daughter, defendant blamed Mrs. Crotts for his eviction.

Approximately a year and a half later, in the early morning hours of March 1, 1998, Mrs. Crotts let her dogs outside. The dogs ran through an open gate in her backyard, making her suspect someone had been in the yard during the night. She investigated and found that, in addition to the open gate, a step on her back porch was out of place and that papers she kept in her new car were lying on the ground. Fearing that someone had been on her property and had tampered with her car, Mrs. Crotts contacted the police. When a police officer arrived, he walked around the house and patrolled the neighborhood in his vehicle, but found nothing amiss. Mrs. Crotts remained awake, talked with her daughter on the phone and prepared to go to church.

Meanwhile, defendant, who originally opened the backyard gate, entered Mrs. Crotts' house through an unlocked back door, sat on a chair in the basement and smoked a cigarette. Several hours passed. Eventually, defendant, carrying a hammer, climbed the basement stairs and confronted Mrs. Crotts in her kitchen. He grabbed Mrs. Crotts arm and pushed her into the living room. They sat down on the living room couch and began talking. Mrs. Crotts asked whether he wanted money or jewelry. Defendant said "[N]o." He rose from the couch and forced Mrs. Crotts into an adjacent room. After collecting his thoughts, he pushed her into the rear bedroom. Once inside the bedroom, defendant pushed her over the bed, and they laid down next to one another. Defendant exposed his penis and tried to force her to perform oral sex. Defendant, however, was unable to maintain an erection, and pushed Mrs. Crotts back into the kitchen.

As Mrs. Crotts looked out the back door window, defendant opened the refrigerator. He looked inside and found a two-liter Pepsi bottle. He pulled out the bottle and took a drink. He found some paper and a pen on the kitchen table and wrote "You are next" on the paper. Then, he seized Mrs. Crotts from behind and forced her to the open door leading to the basement stairs. He shoved her down the stairs, and she fell to the concrete basement floor. Mrs. Crotts lay face down on the concrete, unmoving. Defendant began to descend the steps, and picked up a hammer by his boot. After observing Mrs. Crotts for a time, he struck her in the back of the head several times with the hammer. He tossed the hammer toward the back of the basement, exited via the same back door through which he had entered and proceeded to Mrs. Crotts' backyard. He passed through the same gate he opened before and walked to his new home, no more than one mile away.

Mark A. Christeson

Case Facts: On Saturday, January 31, 1998, Christeson, 18, and his cousin Jesse Carter, 17, who were living in the home of a relative, David Bolin, concocted a plan to run away. The Bolin home was located in a rural area near Vichy, Missouri. Susan Brouk, along with her children, twelve year old Adrian and nine year old Kyle, lived about a half mile away. On Sunday morning, February 1, 1998, after Mr. Bolin left for work, Christeson and Carter each took shotguns and went to Ms. Brouk's home. After hiding outside for a few minutes, they entered the home and found Adrian and Kyle sitting on the living room floor. Ms. Brouk came in from the kitchen and encountered Carter binding her children's hands with shoelaces that he had brought for that purpose. Christeson forced Ms. Brouk into her daughter Adrian's bedroom at gunpoint, where he then raped her on Adrian's bed. When Christeson brought her back out to the living room, Carter bound her hands behind her back with a piece of yellow rope. Ms. Brouk said "you had your fun, now get out." At some point during the confrontation, Ms. Brouk and Kyle were both struck in the head with a blunt object.

About that time, Adrian recognized Carter and said "J.R.," Carter's nickname, and "Jesse Carter," which prompted Christeson to tell Carter "we got to get rid of 'em." They forced Ms. Brouk and her children into the back seat of Ms. Brouk's Bronco and also loaded her television, VCR, car stereo, video game player, checkbook, and a few other small items. Christeson drove down the highway, down a gravel road, and then across a neighbor's field to a pond at the edge of a wooded area.

They forced Ms. Brouk and her children to the bank of the pond. Christeson kicked Ms. Brouk just below her ribs with enough force that she was knocked to the ground. Christeson then placed his foot on her mid-section, and reached down and cut her throat with a bone knife. She bled profusely, but she did not die immediately, and as she lay on the bank of the pond, she told Adrian and Kyle that she loved them. Then Christeson cut Kyle's throat twice and held him under the pond water until he drowned. Carter pushed Kyle's body farther out into the pond so the body would sink. At Christeson's direction, Carter retrieved cinder blocks from a nearby barn, and while there, heard Christeson fire a shot from one of the shotguns. When Carter returned to the pond, Adrian was struggling to free herself from Christeson. Carter held Adrian's feet while Christeson pressed down on her throat until she suffocated, and Carter then pushed Adrian's body into the pond. While Ms. Brouk was still alive, but barely breathing, Christeson grabbed her arms and Carter grabbed her legs, and they threw her into the pond on top of her children's bodies. As she drowned, Carter went into the woods to get a long stick, which he used to push the Brouks' bodies further out into the pond.

Christeson and Carter returned to Mr. Bolin's property in the Bronco and parked it near a garbage pile. They took one of the shotguns back into Mr. Bolin's house, loaded their personal belongings into an Oldsmobile, and then drove the Oldsmobile back to the garbage pile and transferred their belongings to the Bronco. At that point, they drove off in the Bronco, eventually heading west on Interstate 44.

Ms. Brouk's sister, Kay Hayes, thought it was unusual that Ms. Brouk and her children did not come to Sunday dinner, as planned, but she was not concerned until Tuesday evening, when she called Ms. Brouk's home and there was no answer. That evening Ms. Hayes called another sister, Joy Lemoine, to inquire if she had heard from Ms. Brouk, but she had had no contact either. When family members went to Ms. Brouk's house the next evening, they discovered that Ms. Brouk's prescription glasses and the children's and Ms. Brouk's coats were still in the house and that the television, VCR, and Bronco were missing. They called the police, and that night officers from the Maries County Sheriff's Department secured the home and searched the premises.

The next morning, officers in a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter conducting an aerial search spotted a body floating in a pond located slightly southeast of the Brouk's residence. After landing the helicopter in a field just south of the pond, they found the bodies of Ms. Brouk, Adrian, and Kyle partially submerged. The officers then investigated the area around the pond and found a sixteen-gauge shotgun shell on the south bank, some leaves and soil splattered with blood, shoe impressions, and two cinder blocks on the west bank near the area where the bodies were recovered. There were also tire impressions leading from the pond to the garbage pile on Mr. Bolin's property where Christeson and Carter had parked the Bronco.

In the meantime, Christeson and Carter were driving from Missouri to California. On the way, they sold several items of Ms. Brouk's property to pay for gas and food. Christeson also pawned the sixteen-gauge shotgun at a pawnshop in Amarillo, Texas. On February 9, 1998, a detective with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, stationed in Blythe, California, recognized Christeson and Carter from their photographs on a flyer that had been circulated by law enforcement officials, and later that day the fugitives were arrested.

Missouri officials continued to investigate the crimes. A medical examiner's autopsy report showed that the cuts to Ms. Brouk's neck were not severe enough to cause her death immediately and that the actual cause of death was drowning. Autopsies also revealed that Ms. Brouk and Kyle had hemorrhaging or bleeding under the scalp, indicating a blunt impact injury or blow to the head, and that there were two superficial cuts across Kyle's neck, but that he, too, died from drowning. Adrian died from suffocation, but there also was a small, shallow puncture wound in Adrian's left arm that could have been caused by a pellet from a shotgun shell, although no pellet was present. DNA testing performed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory established that genetic material from semen recovered from Ms. Brouk's body and from Adrian's sheets matched Christeson's genetic profile. Firearms-identification testing established conclusively that the sixteen-gauge shotgun that Christeson pawned in Texas was the one that fired the shell found on the bank of the pond.

Earl Ringo, Jr.

Case Facts: On July 3, 1998, defendant and a friend, Quentin Jones, were traveling to Columbia, Missouri, in a rented U-Haul truck. Defendant rented the truck to move his belongings from Columbia to Jeffersonville, Indiana. During the trip, defendant concocted a plan to commit an early morning robbery of the Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Columbia where he had formerly been employed. From that employment, defendant recalled the early morning routine. He explained the two men could wear Ruby Tuesday T-shirts, go to the back door at an early hour, and trick the manager into letting them inside. At that time of day, the manager would be the only person in the building. Defendant believed that the cash proceeds from the previous day's operation would be left in a safe and that their take could amount to several thousand dollars.

On arrival in Columbia, the two went to defendant's former residence and began packing his possessions in the truck. During the process, defendant opened a backpack inside the truck, revealing a bulletproof vest and some gloves. He also displayed two ski masks, two Ruby Tuesday T-shirts, and some jeans that Jones could wear to look more like an employee. After loading the truck, Jones went to sleep. However, defendant did not sleep. He remained awake, cleaning a 9 millimeter pistol. At about 4:30 a.m. on July 4, defendant woke Jones. They then drove to a Radio Shack store within walking distance of the restaurant. At that point, Jones expressed reluctance to go inside the restaurant. Defendant responded by chastising Jones, telling him to "Stop being a bitch and come on." The two then walked toward the restaurant, defendant carrying the backpack.

Once there, the men, already wearing the T-shirts supplied by defendant, approached the restaurant from the rear and walked through an unlocked gateway guarding the back of the restaurant. Defendant closed the gates behind him. Since they had seen no vehicles in the parking lot, they remained within the gated area, waiting for a manager or another employee to arrive. Defendant indicated to Jones that when another employee arrived, they would knock on the back door in the hope of being let inside.

At 5:55 a.m., a delivery truck driven by Dennis Poyser arrived. Jones panicked and attempted to flee by climbing the wall, but defendant instructed him to hide. Jones complied and located a hiding place between a trash dumpster and a "grease pit." The two put on the ski masks. Next, Joanna Baysinger, a manager in training, opened the rear door of the building, and Poyser opened the outer gates. Baysinger came out to the gateway and spoke with Poyser. Then, Baysinger returned to the building along with Poyser. Carrying his pistol, defendant ran in after them.

Once inside, defendant shot Poyser in the face from a distance of about six inches. Poyser fell to the floor. Hearing the gunshot, Jones entered the building and found Poyser on the floor and Baysinger screaming. She had blood on her hand and ankle. Then defendant grabbed Baysinger, forced her into the restaurant office, and demanded that she open the safe. While in the office with Baysinger, defendant directed Jones to go to the front of the restaurant and make sure no one else had arrived. Jones did so and, seeing no one else, returned to the office. When Jones returned, he found defendant and Baysinger next to the safe. Defendant filled the backpack with cash from the petty cash and cash drawers located in the top part of the safe as Baysinger tried to open the bottom part containing the cash proceeds from the previous day's business. Defendant told Jones to make certain the back door was closed. Jones closed the door and returned to see Baysinger struggling with the bottom part of the safe while defendant became increasingly frustrated with her. He demanded that Baysinger "hurry up" as Jones knocked the telephone to the floor in order to scare her.

Suddenly, another employee arrived and knocked on the back door. Defendant responded by handing Jones the gun and his right glove. Defendant said, "If she moves, shoot her." He left Jones in charge of controlling Baysinger, and despite the employee knocking on the door, dragged Poyser's body into the walk-in cooler by the legs. Meanwhile, the employee became discouraged and left the restaurant in order to try calling from a nearby McDonald's restaurant.

Baysinger continued having difficulty in opening the lower part of the safe, and finally asked Jones if he would try. Jones refused. Then he became uncomfortable holding the gun used to kill Poyser, so he set it on the floor. Defendant returned to the office, no longer wearing the ski mask, and asked Jones why the gun was on the floor. Jones picked up the gun and handed it back to defendant, who promptly fired a shot at the floor beside Baysinger to hasten her. Baysinger stood, covered her ears with her hands and screamed. After collecting herself, she again tried unsuccessfully to open the lower portion of the safe. At one point, defendant also tried. As before, this final attempt to open the lower part failed, and defendant gave up.

Frustrated, defendant asked Baysinger how much money she had, seized her purse, and emptied it onto a table. Then, he instructed her to find a piece of paper and write a note saying "I'm sorry." As she wrote, defendant took Jones aside and asked him if he wanted to kill Baysinger. Jones shrugged his shoulders and shook his head but took the gun from defendant nevertheless. Baysinger announced she had finished writing the note. Jones pointed the gun at her head and looked at defendant, who encouraged him to quit stalling and shoot her. Finally, Jones squeezed the trigger, shooting her in the head. Baysinger fell to the floor. Jones picked up the backpack and placed the gun inside.

The two men then left Ruby Tuesday through the front door and walked back to the truck. They fled the scene in the truck, heading east on Interstate Highway 70.

Along the way, they disassembled the gun and discarded the parts and the T-shirts at various points. Once in Indiana, they split the $1,400 obtained from the robbery. Following a police investigation, defendant was arrested nine days later. Jones turned himself in the same day.

Jones pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. In order to avoid the death penalty, Jones agreed to testify for the state against defendant. The jury found defendant guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and recommended that he be sentenced to death for each.

David Zink

Case Facts: In the early morning hours of July 12, 2001, police responded to the report of a traffic accident near Stafford.  On their arrival, they found the victim's car abandoned with the keys in the ignition and the engine running, the headlights and hazard lights on, and the driver's window down.  Police found the victim's personal items in the vehicle, including her purse, credit card and medication.

After the evening news broadcast the victim's disappearance, the owner of a motel near Camdenton recognized the victim's picture as the woman who checked into a room with Mr. Zink.  The motel owner provided the police with Mr. Zink's motel registration card, and, using this information, the police apprehended Mr. Zink at his home. After police showed him evidence that placed him near the scene of the abduction, Mr. Zink waived his rights under Miranda v. Arizona,1 and confessed to killing and burying the victim.  He led police straight to the spot in a cemetery where he said he buried the victim's body, and the police discovered the body positioned just as Mr. Zink had described.  Pathologists found that the victim's neck was broken, she sustained injuries consistent with strangulation and being tied up, and she had eight broken ribs and between 50 and 100 blunt force injuries.  Semen found in the victim's anus matched Mr. Zink's DNA, hair samples taken from Mr. Zink's truck matched the victim's hair, and paint left on the victim's car from the accident matched paint from Mr. Zink's truck.

In two videotaped confessions, Mr. Zink described the murder in detail.  He said that he rear-ended the victim's car on an exit ramp.  In one confession, Mr. Zink told police that the victim voluntarily left the accident scene with him in his truck but later threatened to call police if he did not return her to her vehicle.  In another confession, he said that he gave the victim no choice but to get in his truck, but that she willingly went with him after she was in the truck.

After he drove the victim around in his truck, they stayed for a short time at the motel near Camdenton.  Mr. Zink then decided to kill the victim because he was worried he would go back to prison if she called the police.  He took her to the cemetery and tied her to a tree.  He told her to look-up, and then he broke her neck.  He strangled her with his hands, and then with a rope, and stuffed her mouth with mud and leaves.  He looked for a spot to bury her and then dragged her body to that spot with the rope.  Because he was worried that she might revive, he stated that he stabbed the back of her neck with a knife to cut her spinal cord.  He then covered the body with leaves, went home to get a shovel, and came back to the cemetery and covered the body with dirt.

Carman L. Deck

Case Facts: In June 1996, Deck planned a burglary with his mothers boy friend, Jim Boliek, to help Boliek obtain money for a trip to Oklahoma. Deck targeted James and Zelma Long, the victims in this case, because he had known the Longs' grandson and had accompanied him to the Longs' home in DeSoto, Missouri, where the grandson had stolen money from a safe. The original plan was to break into the Longs' home on a Sunday while the Longs were at church. In preparation for the burglary, Deck and Boliek drove to DeSoto several times to canvass the area.

On Monday, July 8, 1996, Boliek told Deck that he and Deck's mother wanted to leave for Oklahoma on Friday, and he gave Deck his .22 caliber High Standard automatic loading pistol. That Monday evening, Deck and his sister, Tonia Cummings, drove in her car to rural Jefferson County, near DeSoto, and parked on a back road, waiting for nightfall. Around nine o'clock, Deck and Cummings pulled into the Longs' driveway.

Deck and Cummings knocked on the door and Zelma Long answered. Deck asked for directions to Laguana Palma, whereupon Mrs. Long invited them into the house. As she explained the directions and as Mr. Long wrote them down, Deck walked toward the front door and pulled the pistol from his waistband. He then turned around and ordered the Longs to go lie face down on their bed, and they complied without a struggle.

Next, Deck told Mr. Long to open the safe, but because he did not know the combination, Mrs. Long opened it instead. She gave Deck the papers and jewelry inside and then told Deck she had two hundred dollars in her purse in the kitchen. Deck sent her into the kitchen and she brought the money back to him. Mr. Long then told Deck that a canister on top of the television contained money, so Deck took the canister, as well. Hoping to avoid harm, Mr. Long even offered to write a check.

Deck again ordered the Longs to lie on their stomachs on the bed, with their faces to the side. For ten minutes or so, while the Longs begged for their lives, Deck stood at the foot of the bed trying to decide what to do. Cummings, who bad been a lookout at the front door, decided time was running short and ran out the door to the car. Deck put the gun to Mr. Long's head and fired twice into his temple, just above his ear and just behind his forehead. Then Deck put the gun to Mrs. Long's head and shot her twice, once in the back of the head and once above the ear. Both of the Longs died from the gunshots.

After the shooting, Deck grabbed the money and left the house. While fleeing in the car, Cummings complained of stomach pains, so Deck took her to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted. Deck gave her about two hundred fifty dollars of the Lung's money and then drove back to St. Louis County. Based on a tip from an informant earlier that same day, St. Louis County Police Officer Vince Wood was dispatched to the apartment complex where Deck and Cummings lived. Officer Wood confronted Deck late that night after he observed him driving the car into the apartment parking lot with the headlights turned off. During a search for weapons, Officer Wood found a pistol concealed under the front seat of the car and, then, placed Deck under arrest. Deck later gave a full account of the murders in oral, written and audio taped statements.

Note: Condemned inmate Carmen Deck  had claimed numerous mistakes were made during the sentencing phase of his trial for the murders of a couple from rural DeSoto, James and Zelma Long, in 19-96.. The court (Missouri Supreme Court) has unanimously refused to change his sentence from death to life without parole. The court says the judge did not abuse his discretion in handling of some parts of the trial and that Deck has failed to prove his punishment is unjust when compared to other murder cases. Deck still has other appeals. No execution date has been set.

Leonard Taylor

Case Facts:
On Dec. 3, 2004, a police officer in Jennings, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, responded to calls from relatives worried that they had not heard from Angela Rowe or her children for several days. The officer went to the home where Rowe lived with her boyfriend, Leonard Taylor.

The officer found the bodies of Rowe, 28, and her three children, daughters: Alexus Conley, 10, and AcQreya Conley, 6; and her son, Tyrese Conley, 5. They had been shot.

Taylor had boarded a Southwest Airlines flight from Lambert International Field to Ontario, Calif., on the morning of Nov. 26, 2004. He claimed the victims were still alive when he left. Witnesses and phone records indicated Taylor had already murdered them before his departure. From California, Taylor had traveled to Texas, Alabama and Kentucky before police and federal marshals caught him in the back of a car in Madisonville.

A speck of blood on one of three pair of Taylor's specatacles police found in his luggage matched Rowe's blood, a DNA test later revealed.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Kevin Johnson

Case Facts: Kirkwood police Sgt. William McEntee was 43, the father of three, and a Kirkwood police officer for nearly 20 years. On the evening of July 5, 2005, McEntee took a call for another officer to the Meacham Park neighborhood over a complaint of fireworks. He was talking to three juveniles when Kevin Johnson walked up to the police car, fired several shots inside it, and then walked away.

Shot in the head and chest, McEntee still managed to get his car in gear and drive it about 200 feet before he crashed into a tree. Some neighbors tried to help the stricken officer, others called police and McEntee managed to get out of the police car. Kevin Johnson returned, fired three more shots and killed him.

Two hours earlier, Johnson's younger half-brother, Joseph "Bam Bam' Long collapsed at the house of Johnson's grandmother. Police and paramedics arrived. "Bam Bam' was taken to a hospital where he died of a congenital heart condition, an autopsy later revealed. Johnson was upset over his brother's death. He testified he was in a trance when he shot McEntee.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Vincent McFadden

Case Facts: Todd Franklin had been a witness against two members of McFadden's gang, the "6 Deuces,' and they had gone to jail. On the evening of July 3, 2002, in the 6200 block of Lexington Avenue in Pine Lawn, a St. Louis suburb, two young men chased Franklin, 19, to a house where men were working. The suspects were later identified by the witnesses as McFadden and Michael Douglas, now serving a lengthy prison sentence.

Witnesses said Douglas shot Franklin and then McFadden fired shots into the prone body of the victim after McFadden took the handgun from Douglas and complained that Franklin was still alive.

On May 15, 2003, just a few blocks from the scene of Franklin's death 10 months earlier, Leslie Addison, 18, was fatally shot after an argument with McFadden in which he told her to get out of Pine Lawn. McFadden was the boyfriend of Leslie's sister, Eva Addison, with whom he had a child.

Eva Addison was hiding in bushes when she saw her sister plead for her life and then saw McFadden shoot her. The victim had been shot under the chin and alongside the head.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

No photo available
Scott McLaughlin

Case Facts: When Beverly Guenther got off work on Nov. 20, 2003, she was attacked on her employer's parking lot in Earth City, a light industrial area across the Missouri River from St. Charles. Her assailant stabbed her, raped her, and took her body that night to a wooded area off South Broadway in St. Louis, near Bellerive Park.

Before her death, Guenther, 45, of Moscow Mills, Mo., had filed written statements of domestic violence in Lincoln County against a former boyfriend with whom she had broken up that summer. She wrote that she had been repeatedly harassed by phone and in person by Scott McLaughlin, and at one point, she said, he had jumped out of bushes at her on the Earth City lot. A hearing on her domestic violence allegations was set for Nov. 21, 2003, the morning after her disappeance.

On the night she disappeared, a worried neighbor at her mobile home park called her boss, who called police and they found Guenther's pickup truck on the parking lot where she worked, along with a trail of blood. Guenther was already dead when her killer raped her, an autopsy showed.

McLaughlin, 33, of Wright City, admitted the murder in audiotaped and videotaped statements to police but never admitted the sexual assault on either an alive or dead victim. He led police to her corpse after his confessions.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

William Weaver

Case Facts: On July 8, 1987, Charles Taylor was supposed to appear in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to testify against Charles Shurn, whom authorities considered an area drug dealer. It never happened.

On the morning of July 6, two men confronted Taylor, 48, outside his home in the Mansion Hills Condominiums in Normandy, a St. Louis suburb; chased him across a putting green and shot him. Witnesses said the pair got into a car but the car stopped and one of its occupants got out and shot Taylor again. The victim was shot six times in the head and once each in the stomach and arm.

Police caught one man, Daryl Shurn, nearby and a second suspect, William Weaver, running in neighboring Pasadena Hills, about a mile from Taylor's murder. Daryl Shurn is Charles Shurn's brother. Daryl Shurn is serving a life sentence after his death penalty conviction was set aside.

Authorities said Weaver was a hitman hired by the Shurns to silence a federal witness. Weaver claimed he was out jogging and exercising the morning of his arrest. He was shoeless. Tennis shoes were found at the crime scene.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Kenneth Baumruk

Case Facts: In May 1992, Kenneth Baumruk came to the St. Louis County courthouse for a hearing in his divorce case. At the time, the courthouse did not have metal detectors in place, and Baumruk was able to bring into the courtroom two loaded .38-caliber guns that he had purchased in the state of Washington, where he was living at the time. At the same time, a security meeting was occurring elsewhere in the courthouse.

While his wife, Mary, was testifying that she wished to waive a conflict of interest involving her attorney, Baumruk stood and shot her in the neck. He then shot Pollard in the chest and his own attorney, Garry Seltzer, in the chest and back. He then put a gun near his wife's head and shot her again, killing her. He next shot at the judge, who fled through the door behind the bench.

By the time Baumruk was subdued, he had shot nine people, including a bailiff and security guard, in various parts of the courthouse.

Baumruk was shot nine times, including two shots to his head. As he was being handcuffed, he asked two police officers if he had killed his wife. Later, in the emergency room, he told a doctor he had shot Mary because of the divorce. After the shooting, which received much media attention, the county paid to double the number of security guards at the courthouse and to install metal detectors there.


Hand down from Supreme Court of Missouri: SC88497, State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Kenneth Baumruk, an appeal from St. Charles County that was argued Wednesday morning, April 30, 2008, and was resubmitted on briefs after additional briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.

Overview: A man challenges, on direct appeal, his conviction for first-degree murder and his death sentence for killing his wife during a 1992 hearing in a dissolution proceeding. In a 6-0 decision written by Judge Patricia Breckenridge, the Supreme Court of Missouri affirms the man's conviction and sentence. Substantial evidence supports the trial court's findings that the man was competent to stand trial but not able to represent himself. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in using jurors from the county where the case was transferred after a change of venue or in preventing defense counsel from telling potential jurors the specific number of individuals at whom the defendant shot. The trial court did not commit plain error in failing to strike, on its own motion, a certain juror; in allowing a psychiatric expert to rely on a particular conversation as one basis for his conclusion; or in failing to intervene, on its own motion, during the penalty phase closing arguments when the prosecutor made certain statements. Further, the evidence shows the imposition of the death sentence here did not result from passion, prejudice or other arbitrary factor; supports the jury's findings of 10 statutory factors in aggravation of punishment; and that the sentence is not excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases.

1.) Baumruk sentenced to death

Kenneth Baumruk showed no emotion as he heard himself sentenced to death, again, for killing his estranged wife in a St. Louis County courthouse shooting 15 years ago. Baumruk killed her during a divorce hearing. He wounded several the people before a security guard ended the spree by shooting him in the head. His competence to stand trial has been questioned for most of the 15 years.

His step-daughter, who was in the courtroom on the day of the shooting, says she wants to watch his execution - which is likely to be several years away. Baumruk will be 68 next month, the oldest prisoner in Missouri facing a death sentence. The oldest person executed in Missouri was Lambus Allen, who was 73 when he was gassed in 1944.

Kenneth Baumruk was sentenced to death, again, and returned to the Potosi Correctional Center at 5:00 p.m. on March 19, 2007.

Marcellus Williams

Case Facts: On August 11, 1998, Williams drove his grandfather's Buick LeSabre to a bus stop and caught a bus to University City. Once there, he began looking for a house to break into. Williams came across the home of Felicia Gayle. He knocked on the front door but no one answered. Williams then knocked out a window pane near the door, reached in, unlocked the door, and entered Gayle's home. He went to the second floor and heard water running in the shower. It was Gayle. Williams went back downstairs, rummaged through the kitchen, found a large butcher knife, and waited.

Gayle left the shower and called out, asking if anyone was there. She came down the stairs. Williams attacked, stabbing and cutting Gayle forty-three times, inflicting seven fatal wounds. Afterwards, Williams went to an upstairs bathroom and washed off. He took a jacket and put it on to conceal the blood on his shirt. Before leaving, Williams placed Gayle's purse and her husband's laptop computer and black carrying case in his backpack. The purse contained, among other things, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch ruler and a calculator. Williams left out the front door and caught a bus back to the Buick.

After returning to the car, Williams picked up his girlfriend, Laura Asaro. Asaro noticed that, despite the summer heat, Williams was wearing a jacket. When he removed the jacket, Asaro noticed that Williams' shirt was bloody and that he had scratches on his neck. Williams claimed he had been in a fight. Later in the day, Williams put his bloody clothes in his backpack and threw them into a sewer drain, claiming he no longer wanted them.

Asaro also saw a laptop computer in the car. A day or two after the murder, Williams sold the laptop to Glenn Roberts.

The next day, Asaro went to retrieve some clothes from the trunk of the car. Williams did not want her to look in the trunk and tried to push her away. Before he could, Asaro snatched a purse from the trunk. She looked inside and found Gayle's Missouri state identification card and a black coin purse. Asaro demanded that Williams explain why he had Gayle's purse. Williams then confessed that the purse belonged to a woman he had killed. He explained in detail how he went into the kitchen, found a butcher knife, and waited for the woman to get out of the shower. He further explained that when the woman came downstairs from the shower, he stabbed her in the arm and then put his hand over her mouth and stabbed her in the neck, twisting the knife as he went. After relaying the details of the murder, Williams grabbed Asaro by the throat and threatened to kill her, her children and her mother if she told anyone.

On August 31, 1998, Williams was arrested on unrelated charges and incarcerated at the St. Louis City workhouse. From April until June 1999, Williams shared a room with Henry Cole. One evening in May, Cole and Williams were watching television and saw a news report about Gayle's murder. Shortly after the news report, Williams told Cole that he had committed the crime. Over the next few weeks, Cole and Williams had several conversations about the murder. As he had done with Laura Asaro, Williams went into considerable detail about how he broke into the house and killed Gayle.

After Cole was released from jail in June 1999, he went to the University City police and told them about Williams' involvement in Gayle's murder. He reported details of the crime that had never been publicly reported.

In November of 1999, University City police approached Asaro to speak with her about the murder. Asaro told the police that Williams admitted to her that he had killed Gayle. The next day, the police searched the Buick LeSabre and found the Post-Dispatch ruler and calculator belonging to Gayle. The police also recovered the laptop computer from Glenn Roberts. The laptop was identified as the one stolen from Gayle's residence.

Williams was tried for Gayle's murder and convicted.

Scott McLaughlin

Case Facts: When Beverly Guenther got off work on Nov. 20, 2003, she was attacked on her employer's parking lot in Earth City, a light industrial area across the Missouri River from St. Charles. Her assailant stabbed her, raped her, and took her body that night to a wooded area off South Broadway in St. Louis, near Bellerive Park.

Before her death, Guenther, 45, of Moscow Mills, Mo., had filed written statements of domestic violence in Lincoln County against a former boyfriend with whom she had broken up that summer. She wrote that she had been repeatedly harassed by phone and in person by Scott McLaughlin, and at one point, she said, he had jumped out of bushes at her on the Earth City lot. A hearing on her domestic violence allegations was set for Nov. 21, 2003, the morning after her disappeance.

On the night she disappeared, a worried neighbor at her mobile home park called her boss, who called police and they found Guenther's pickup truck on the parking lot where she worked, along with a trail of blood. Guenther was already dead when her killer raped her, an autopsy showed.

McLaughlin, 33, of Wright City, admitted the murder in audiotaped and videotaped statements to police but never admitted the sexual assault on either an alive or dead victim. He led police to her corpse after his confessions.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

1.)     In a hearing aimed at negating Scott McLaughlin's death sentence, family members and a DNA expert testified Monday that a relative of his might also be connected to the killing of his ex-girlfriend.

    Lawyers for McLaughlin are presenting new evidence in a claim that he did not have effective legal representation when St. Louis County Circuit Judge Steven H. Goldman sentenced him to death.

    McLaughlin, of Wright City, was convicted of abducting Beverly Guenther, 45, of Moscow Mills, from her workplace in Earth City and killing her in November 2003. In 2006, jurors found McLaughlin guilty of first-degree murder, rape and armed criminal action in the guilt phase of his trial but could not agree on punishment. Goldman ordered the capital sentence a month later.



"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Albert Einstein


October 02, 2010, 09:11:24 AM Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 09:22:37 AM by Jacques
Missouri Death Row

Capital Punishment in Missouri
Current Inmates

49 Men, 0 Women; 30 White, 19 Black

The Site contains all inmates incl. MO SC Appeales in Audio

Here you will find a very interesting website

The Court's search page



"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Albert Einstein

Go Up