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Death Penalty Pursued for Steven Calverley in 2020 MO Slaying of Sarah Pasco
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Thread: Death Penalty Pursued for Steven Calverley in 2020 MO Slaying of Sarah Pasco

  1. #1
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    Death Penalty Pursued for Steven Calverley in 2020 MO Slaying of Sarah Pasco




    Sarah Pasco





    Miller murder straining state's death penalty defense teams


    By Jeff Lehr
    Joplin Globe

    MOUNT VERNON, Mo. Court records show the states intent to seek the death penalty on five of 10 co-defendants in the slaying of Sarah Pasco is straining the ability of the Missouri public defenders office to provide qualified counsel.

    The Lawrence County prosecutor filed notice Dec. 3 of an intent to seek the death penalty on two presumed shooters and three alleged accomplices in the killing of Pasco, 27, and wounding of another woman Aug. 16 on a property near Miller.

    Facing capital murder charges in the case are: Gary Hunter Jr., 24, of Mount Vernon; Steven C. Calverley, 30, of Republic; Andrew J. Cypret, 27, of Billings; Diona L. Parks, 27, of Mount Vernon; and Lyle B. DeLong, 23, of Mount Vernon.

    The others facing first-degree murder charges but not the death penalty are: Christina N. Knapp, 38, of Stotts City; Kimberly K. Henderson, 47, of Republic; Siera L. Dunham, 19, of Mount Vernon; and Frankie J. Sheridan Jr., 27, of Aurora.

    A 10th co-defendant, Gary Hunter Sr., 45, of Stotts City, is charged with hindering prosecution of a felony.

    The director of the Office of the Missouri State Public Defender sent a letter to the presiding judge of the 39th Circuit Court indicating that the case was placing a strain on the states ability to provide qualified counsel.

    The state has three capital murder defense teams. Attorneys from those units have entered appearances in the cases of Gary Hunter Jr., Parks and Calverley but not the other two, Cypret and DeLong.

    The letter sent to the court reads: MSPD is unable to provide or fund counsel for these additional two cases.

    The letter indicates that the public defenders office has assigned contract counsel to Cypret and DeLong, but those attorneys have not been trained in capital case defense, the letter reads.

    According to a probable-cause affidavit filed early in the investigation of the case, investigators believe Gary Hunter Jr. abducted the two women at gunpoint in Stotts City and forced them to drive to Knapps residence and begin digging their own graves while Hunter went inside the house and Cypret watched over them with an AR/AK-style firearm.

    Knapp is accused of participating in the murder by retrieving the AR/AK-style firearm from a vehicle on her property at Hunters request. Dunham, who also was present at Knapps residence, allegedly asked Hunter for (and was given) the sunglasses and shoes Pasco was wearing.

    Hunter purportedly forced the two women into the trunk of a car that Cypret then drove to a property near Miller. DeLong, Parks and Calverley purportedly accompanied Cypret in the car following Hunter, who drove the second victims truck there.

    The second victim, whose name has not been released out of concern for her safety, later told investigators that they were forced down into an abandoned well on the property near Miller.

    According to the affidavit, a man whom the second woman referred to as Gary then demanded that they tell him where a third woman was. When Pasco replied that she did not know where the third woman was, Gary stated, You can thank (that third woman), and began shooting down into the well.

    Pasco was shot in the head and killed. The second woman was shot multiple times but managed to survive by crawling under Pascos body and playing dead, according to the affidavit.

    The document mentions no one other than Gary firing shots into the well. But Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter told the Globe last week that further investigation determined that it was Calverley who shot the second woman.

    Trotter indicated that he filed for the death penalty on both presumed shooters and the three alleged accomplices who he believes participated most directly in the abduction and subsequent slaying and wounding of the victims.

    Trotter corrected some initial misinformation released by the sheriffs office in August regarding the case.

    Trotter said Pasco was incorrectly portrayed as someone who had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, with a dispute between Hunter and the other woman over a heroin transaction actually lying at the heart of the case.

    The prosecutor said that a heroin transaction between Pasco and Hunter may have been involved in what happened. But it remains uncertain what role it played in the abduction and shooting of the two women.

    He said investigators now believe the two women actually went to the pavilion in Stotts City to meet Hunter.

    Were not certain at this time why they were out there to meet Mr. Hunter, Trotter said. But they were out there to meet Mr. Hunter. They lured him out there.

    He declined to discuss what their reasons might have been for luring Hunter into a meeting, where he purportedly turned the tables on them. But, Trotter said, whatever the womens intentions, they did not justify what Hunter then allegedly did: abducting them at gunpoint, holding them against their will with the help of others and shooting them.

    He said the second victim in the case has made a full recovery physically but is still struggling emotionally to deal with what was done to her.

    Hunters father is accused of hindering investigation of the case by providing transport of Knapp and his son to a residence in Dade County in the wake of the shootings. He purportedly did so knowing what had happened, according to the affidavit.

    Court records further allege that the father made indirect threats to the surviving victim.

    Henderson, who is Cyprets mother, is accused of having been present at Knapps residence when the women were brought there. The affidavit states that she picked up the keys to the surviving womans truck at one point and put them in Hunters pocket, advising him that he might need them.

    Sheridan also is believed to have been at Knapps residence and purportedly assisted Hunter by bandaging a wound Hunter had suffered earlier the same day.

    https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/loc...3c478d.html#//
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #2
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    Defense attorneys in Lawrence county murder case want outside jury

    By Chris Warner
    KOAM News

    JOPLIN, Mo. The defense attorneys for a Lawrence county murder suspect are pushing for an outside jury for the trial.

    Mondays hearing was for a change of venue, more specifically, a change of jurors. Back in August of last year, Sarah Pasco of Aurora was shot and killed and another woman shot and injured in Lawrence county.

    Authorities have charged ten people in the case, five are charged with capital murder, four are charged with first-degree murder, and another is charged with hindering prosecution of a felony.

    Monday, a change of venue hearing was at the Jasper County Courthouse in Joplin for one of those defendants, Gary Hunter Jr., who could be facing the death penalty.

    The defense pushed a case for a jury to be selected from Jackson county, stating the local jury pool has been contaminated by media coverage from media outlets in Joplin and Springfield. The prosecution says it disagrees. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Roscoe

    Miller says I think its unnecessary, thats not the rule, thats not the theory, this is a death penalty case, so I understand what the judge has to consider, weve got to make sure the trial is fair for the defendant and when were asking for this serious of a consequence, we need to make sure we are protecting those rights, but I do think its an unnecessary expense to travel up there for a week and then bring them back down."

    From here, the judge will consider the evidence, and make a determination on whether the local jury pool is contaminated based on media coverage of the case. That will be taken up at the pre-trial hearing scheduled for May 12th.

    The attorney for the defense, Thomas Jacquinot, left the courthouse before we could ask him for an interview.

    https://www.koamnewsnow.com/defense-...-outside-jury/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
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    Ozarks prosecutor says he'll pursue death penalty against at least 3 suspects in homicide of Sarah Pasco

    By Harrison Keegan
    Springfield News-Leader

    Following the fatal shooting last year of 27-year-old Sarah Pasco, Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter charged nine people with first-degree murder.

    Trotter announced in December he would seek the death penalty against five of the defendants a large number considering there are 22 prisoners on death row across the state.

    The Missouri State Public Defender System pushed back against Trotter's plan, saying they only had three "death qualified" attorneys available to handle these time-consuming cases.

    Trotter told the News-Leader on Monday he is now only actively pursuing the death penalty against the three defendants he views as most culpable Gary Hunter Jr., Steven Calverley and Diona Parks.

    On the other two cases against Lyle DeLong and Andrew Cypret Trotter has withdrawn his intent to seek the death penalty. He said Monday, however, that if a plea deal is not reached in those cases and they go to trial, he was "90 percent sure" he would once again try to pursue the death penalty against DeLong and Cypret.

    According to court documents, Pasco and another woman were abducted last August, taken to an abandoned well and shot in a plot that involved several people. The other victim survived her injuries and helped authorities locate Pasco's body.

    Trotter said there is a lot of evidence in the case that was recently turned over to the defense attorneys for them to review. So far all of the criminal cases are still pending.

    "We've been in contact with all the attorneys on everyone's case," Trotter said. "They're progressing. Something like this takes a lot of time."

    https://www.news-leader.com/story/ne...co/5371946001/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
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    Edited:

    2 of 9 sentenced in 2020 Lawrence County murder

    By Stacie Strader
    KOAM News

    LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. The first 2 of 9 suspects in a Lawrence County murder learn their fate.

    In 2020, authorities say 9 people played a role in the shooting death of Sarah C. Pasco, 27, of Aurora, Missouri. They were also involved in the non-fatal shooting of another woman. She told deputies her friend had been killed. Authorities did not identify the surviving victim.

    Gary Hunter, Jr., 23, and Diona Parks, 26, both took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty. A judge gave Hunter 40 years in prison and Parks 30 years.

    https://www.koamnewsnow.com/2-of-9-s...county-murder/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
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    Third of nine defendants pleads guilty in death of Lawrence County woman

    By KY3 News

    MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (KY3/AP) - The third of nine defendants has entered a guilty plea for her role in the death of a southwest Missouri woman who was kidnapped and shot after she was forced into a well.

    Thirty-nine-year-old Christina Knapp, of Stotts City, pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbery and kidnapping in the death of Sarah Pasco.

    Prosecutors said Pasco and another woman were kidnapped in August 2020 and forced into an abandoned well, where they were shot. The other woman survived.

    All the nine defendants were initially charged with first-degree murder and other counts. Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter says he expects most of the remaining defendants to take plea deals in the next few weeks.

    Two defendants, Gary Hunter Jr., 23, and Diona Parks, 26, were recently sentenced to decades in prison in the death of Pasco.

    Others facing criminal charges in the case include:

    • Andrew J. Cypret, 27, of Billings, Missouri
    • Lyle B. Delong, 23, of Stotts City, Missouri
    • Sierra Dunham, 18, of Mt. Vernon, Missouri
    • Steven C. Calverley, 30, of Republic, Missouri
    • Kimberly K. Henderson, 47, of Stotts City, Missouri
    • Frank J. Sheridan, Jr., 27, of Aurora, Missouri

    https://www.ky3.com/2022/02/03/third...-county-woman/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
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    Edited:

    February 16, 2022

    4th person sentenced in 2020 Lawrence County murder

    By Andrew Louque
    KOAM News

    LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. – A judge sentences the 4th defendant in a 2020 Lawrence County murder. Prosecutors charged 9 people in this case.

    In 2020, authorities say 9 people played a role in the shooting death of Sarah C. Pasco, 27, of Aurora, Missouri.

    Officers say they initially booked Kimberly Henderson with several counts including; 1st-degree murder, armed criminal action, and 1st-degree assault, however, she took a plea deal.

    On February 15, Henderson pled guilty to the following:

    • First Degree Robbery

    As part of the plea deal, a county judge sentenced Henderson to 25 years.

    A judge has sentenced three other defendants in the case. You can read more here.

    https://www.koamnewsnow.com/4th-pers...county-murder/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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