A botched execution in Arizona is not stopping Missouri from moving forward with its own. The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday set a September execution date for convicted killer Leon Taylor. Taylor is scheduled to die Sept. 10 at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing a suburban Kansas City service station attendant during a 1994 robbery. Authorities say he tried to kill the victim’s 8 year old stepdaughter, too, but the gun misfired. Missouri has executed six men this year. Only Florida and Texas, with seven each, have executed more. Another execution is scheduled for Aug. 6, when Michael Shane Worthington is scheduled to be put to death for the rape and killing of a suburban St. Louis neighbor in 1995.
An arrest has been made in the murder of 35 year old Chad Gerber in Laclede County. According to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office 65 year old Matthew Rumbaugh of Mountain Grove has been arrested and charged with first degree murder, first degree assault and two counts of felony armed criminal action. Rumbaugh owned the garage where Gerber worked. Gerber’s 15 year old son Riley Aaron Gerber died Saturday morning at a Springfield hospital after also being shot during the incident. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. Rumbaugh is being held in the Laclede County Jail without bond.
A lake area man is behind bars after a methamphetamine pipe was allegedly found on his person following an early Friday traffic stop. A Lebanon police officer reports that at about 2:48 a.m. he witnessed a truck driving westbound on elm street pass into the wrong lane, so he conducted a traffic stop then asked and was given permission to search the truck. As an occupant was exiting the rear passenger side of the truck, the officer reports that he heard what sounded like a hard glass object hitting the ground. According to a probable cause statement, 20 year old Brandon Dewayne East allegedly admitted that he had a synthetic form of marijuana, and had placed a pouch in the front seat that contained a glass pipe. East was charged with a Class C Felony of possession of a controlled substance. He is being held in the Laclede County jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash or surety bond.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state to hold off on executing murderer Russell Bucklew to give more time for federal courts to consider arguments that the injection posed a risk of cruel and unusual punishment. Now the Missouri Supreme Court has set the execution date for an inmate that also faced delays in his execution. 54 year old John C. Middleton was sentenced to death for the 1995 shooting deaths of three people in northwest Missouri. He was previously scheduled to die by lethal injection in 2008, but the execution was stayed then by the Missouri Supreme Court amid legal challenges to the state’s death penalty procedure. His new execution date has been set for July 16th.
A lake area man has been arrested on murder charges following a stabbing that took place early yesterday morning. Camdenton police responded to a residence on Lakeview Drive where they found 28 year old Danielle Bell of St. Louis who had been stabbed several times. She died while being transported by ambulance. She had allegedly been in an altercation with her husband, 50 year old Calvin Kyle’s who is also from St. Louis but has been living in the lake area for the past year. Kyle’s left the scene prior to the arrival of police and was later located near Osceola, mo after a statewide bulletin was issued. He has been charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action, and is being held without bond at the Camden County Adult Detention Facility.
Clara Rector will be back in court as she has a pre trial conference scheduled for Monday at 9:00 am in Camden County Circuit Court. This will be the next step in her ongoing legal drama as the 36 year old Laurie resident was first arrested for the aggravated stalking of her minister but while in custody she also confessed to the 2004 murder of Tommy Hope of Camdenton. Rector was originally a person of interest during the initial 2004 investigation, but investigators were unable to connect her directly to the murder. She has been charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action.
An attorney for a Missouri inmate scheduled to be put to death this month is seeking permission to record video of the execution over concerns that the man could suffer during the process, a request that follows a botched execution in Oklahoma. Attorney Cheryl Pilate, who represents convicted killer Russell Bucklew, filed the request Friday with the Missouri Department of Corrections. She asks that a video camera, perhaps two, be stationed inside the execution chamber, pointed at the gurney. In Missouri executions, witnesses can observe the process as it begins and for several minutes while the inmate presumably dies, but curtains are then closed while prison staff members check the inmate’s vital signs to confirm death. Pilate wants the recording to continue throughout that process and says the faces of execution team members would be blurred so that they cannot be identified. Video-recording of executions is rare. Pilate says if the state refuses, she’ll ask a court to allow the recording.