Charles MatheniaCase 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. BoliekCase 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 PrestonCase 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. LyonsCase 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 LinkCase 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. ClayCase 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 TaylorCase 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 BartonCase 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 ClemonsCase 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. SmullsCase 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 FergusonCase 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 StoreyCase 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 WorthingtonCase 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. WinfieldCase 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. ClaytonCase 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. BucklewCase 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 BarnettCase 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 MiddletonCase 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 4Ũ4 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. FranklinCase 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 RousanCase 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 itīs a lot of work to bring it in this topic............