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Thread: Michael Andrew Tisius - Missouri Death Row

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    Michael Andrew Tisius - Missouri Death Row


    Deputy Sheriff Jason Lee Acton
    Randolph County Sheriff's Department



    Jail Supervisor Leon Earl Egley
    Randolph County Sheriff's Department



    Michael Andrew Tisius



    Facts of the Crime:

    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.

    Tisius was resentenced to death on September 27, 2010.

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    July 17, 2010

    Jurors find penalty fits conviction

    The lack of remorse by convicted killer Michael Tisius earned him not one death sentence, but two, former jury members say.

    Springfield resident Ginny Young, 36, who for four days last week was also known as Juror No. 41 during the penalty phase retrial of Tisius, said several key factors contributed toward her “easy” decision of death over life in prison without parole. The 29-year-old defendant admitted to shooting Randolph County jailers Leon Egley and Jason Acton during a 2000 jailbreak, but Tisius never looked at autopsy photographs that were shown to the jury. And he never acknowledged family members of the victims who were present in court, Young said.

    “As soon as we left the courtroom, a lot of us started crying,” Young said of jurors’ reactions. “They felt bad that they had to put this man to death. One of them said, ‘You wouldn’t be human unless you feel bad.’ I guess I am not human, because I don’t feel bad. Maybe I need therapy. I think the punishment is justified by the crime.”

    Young was one of 12 jurors and three alternates who heard testimony for two days before sentencing Tisius to death on two counts of first-degree murder.

    On June 22, 2000, Tisius and Tracie Bulington planned to free an inmate from the jail by intimidating jailers at gunpoint but instead killed Egley and Acton with gunshots to the head and chest. Tisius was a friend of inmate Roy Vance. He and Vance had served time together in the jail, and Bulington was Vance’s girlfriend.

    Tisius was sentenced to death after a St. Charles County jury convicted him in Boone County Circuit Court in 2001. Last week’s retrial concerned only Tisius’ sentence, not the conviction. Tisius did not testify on his own behalf.

    Bulington is serving two life sentences concurrently after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

    During the three hours of deliberation it took to render a death sentence, Young said only two jurors initially supported a sentence of life in prison, not death. A former priest with experience of treating people with depression – which Tisius’ attorneys charged was a factor in the 19-year-old’s unstable life at the time of the murder — said he knew how depression can affect decision-making skills.

    Another juror was a young woman that Young said told the jury she “didn’t want to do something that would make God mad at her.”

    The fact that a previous jury had sentenced the defendant to death was not a factor during deliberations, she said, and the two jurors ultimately decided for themselves the crime warranted death.

    “They were really taking it personally. Like they knew him or it could have been someone they knew,” she said. “A lot of us didn’t have a problem of separating him from what he had done.”

    Tisius’ difficult and abusive childhood was a staple of the defense, but she didn’t buy it.

    “If he wanted to build a stronger case, he should have done something better than say his dad wasn’t in his life,” Young said of the defense tactic. “It’s easy to find someone that didn’t have a father but did something with themselves.”

    On Tuesday, the day before the penalty verdict, a juror from Tisius’ 2001 trial learned of the retrial of the penalty phase, and began to pray.

    “I prayed that there was someone in that room to help whoever is struggling and convince them this person deserved to die,” said the juror, who requested to remain anonymous. “This kid has no remorse for what he did.”

    The juror, who found the defendant guilty of both counts of murder and sentenced him to death, said he struggled with nightmares and eating problems during the trial due to the graphic nature of crime scene photographs. He worried last week the sentence they ordered in 2001 would be overturned and the two families would not receive justice.

    During deliberations, the 2001 jury also included two panel members that initially favored life in prison. He said jurors were not bullied, but instead a discussion of what is right and wrong, and good and evil, dominated the debate.

    “I went to the bathroom and prayed to God,” he said, recalling the deliberations nine years ago. “I know it is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and the 10 Commandments say thou shall not kill.”

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/...ts-conviction/

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    September 28, 2010

    Death sentence upheld in 2000 murder of jail guards

    COLUMBIA — Michael Tisius couldn't come up with a good answer when Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler asked why he shouldn't be sentenced to death.

    “I have no idea,” said Tisius, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of two unarmed guards at the Randolph County Jail in 2000. Tisius shot Leon Egley and Jason Acton while trying to help a former cellmate escape, according to a previous Missourian report.

    Monday's hearing was the final disposition of Tisius' sentencing. Oxenhandler upheld the jury's recommendation that he be sentenced to death.

    Tisius was originally convicted and sentenced in 2001; and he had a retrial for the penalty phase in July.

    During the final sentencing, Tisius said his lawyer did not represent him effectively.

    Allen Acton, Jason Acton's brother, testified during Monday's hearing.

    “(Jason) had his whole life ahead of him, and this man took his chance away,” Acton said.

    No date for Tisius's execution has been set. Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fusselman said it could be seven or eight years before Tisius is put to death.

    http://www.columbiamissourian.com/st...-years-prison/

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    Tisius appeals death penalty in jail slayings

    Convicted murderer Michael Tisius is asking the Missouri Supreme Court to drop his death sentence for the 2000 slayings of a pair of Randolph County jailers and resentence him to life in prison without parole.

    His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jeannie Willibey, argued Thursday to the Missouri Supreme Court that Tisius’ pair of death sentences should be vacated. The 30-year-old defendant’s sentence was reaffirmed in July 2010 when a Greene County jury was sequestered for a four-day penalty phase trial in Boone County Circuit Court. The decision upheld a 2001 St. Charles County jury’s pair of death sentences on two charges of first-degree murder.

    On June 22, 2000, Tisius and Tracie Bulington had planned to free an inmate from the Randolph County Jail by intimidating jailers at gunpoint. They killed Leon Egley and Jason Acton with gunshots to the head and chest.

    Tisius was a friend of inmate Roy Vance. He and Vance had served time together in the jail, and Bulington was Vance’s girlfriend. Bulington is serving two life sentences concurrently after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

    Willibey argued to the court that the state erred in introducing hearsay evidence from outside the scope of the trial. That evidence was Tisius’ 2009 guilty plea to knowingly possessing a boot shank while in prison — an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit to the act but only that sufficient evidence existed that could convince a judge or jury to find him guilty.

    “This illustrates what happens in circuit court,” Willibey said. “Sometimes defendants plea to something that may not be factually correct.”

    She argued the state should have questioned witnesses to the incident instead of asserting that he was guilty of the crime. “In a case where a jury decides life or death, it’s extremely prejudicial,” Willibey said.

    Assistant Attorney General Richard Starnes said the information was introduced as a crime to which Tisius admitted guilt — not what a prosecutor believed him to be guilty of, and therefore the court did not err.

    In previous court filings, Willibey argued Tisius’ sentence was imposed under the influence of passion and that evidence did not support aggravating factors. She also argued the death sentence is disproportionate to the sentences imposed in similar cases, considering the crime, strength of the evidence and the defendant.

    “Michael received the death penalty when the driving force behind the escape plan did not: Roy Vance was charged with the same crime, and he received life without parole,” Willibey said in court documents.

    Starnes noted in court documents that the jury found two aggravating circumstances: The deputies were peace officers engaged in performance of their official duties, and Tisius killed each deputy while engaged in the murder of the other.

    He also noted that the Missouri Supreme Court in 2002 found Tisius’ death sentences were neither excessive nor disproportionate to his crimes.

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/...jail-slayings/

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    Supreme Court upholds Tisius' death sentence

    The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the death sentence for Michael Tisius, convicted in the 2000 murders of a pair of Randolph County jailers.

    In the courts unanimous decision, it ruled that the trial court did not err on several counts, including introducing hearsay evidence from outside the scope of the trial. That evidence was Tisius 2009 guilty plea to knowingly possessing a boot shank while in prison. It was an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit to the act but only that sufficient evidence existed that could persuade a judge or jury to find him guilty.

    The circuit court did not plainly err in admitting Tisius prior conviction into evidence as this was relevant to his character, said the opinion written by Judge George Draper.

    On June 22, 2000, Tisius and Tracie Bulington had planned to free an inmate from the Randolph County Jail by intimidating jailers at gunpoint. They killed Leon Egley and Jason Acton with gunshots to the head and chest. In 2001, a St. Charles County jury handed down two death sentences on two counts of first-degree murder. Those sentences were reaffirmed in July 2010 by a Greene County jury after a four-day penalty phase retrial in Boone County Circuit Court.

    Tisius attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jeannie Willibey, argued in December before the Missouri Supreme Court that Tisius death sentences should be vacated. She said Tisius death sentence was disproportionate to the sentences imposed in similar cases, considering the crime, strength of evidence and the defendant. But the high court ruled that the sentence was not disproportionate.

    This Court independently researched both death and life cases and has not identified any similar case involving pre-meditated murders of two law enforcement officers as committed by Tisius that would support a finding that his sentence is disproportionate. Tisius conduct was calculating and brazen, Draper wrote.

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/...eath-sentence/

  6. #6
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    Administrative Date

    SC91209 State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Michael Andrew Tisius, Appellant.

    Appellant's motion for rehearing overruled. Execution set for August 3, 2012

    http://www.courts.mo.gov/sup/index.n...5?OpenDocument
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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    I noticed on Case Net that Michael Tisius had his August 3rd execution stayed pending an appeal before the US Supreme Court. Apparently, it is a Writ of Certiorari to review the Missouri Supreme Court decision. I also saw in the news a few Missouri Death Row Inmates had their appeals before the Missouri Supreme Court rejected. They have a motion for rehearing on the table. Once Tisius' motion for rehearing was denied, an execution date was set. It is good to see some movement. The whole basis of putting executions on hold (without officially doing so) in Missouri because of some legal challenges that may occur regarding the new 1 drug protocol is not a valid argument. The process has long been dormant. I also heard the Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice say that the AG and DOC have not informed the court of the new protocol or the basis of such protocol. Again, it is a cop out by the Supreme Court. The legal process needs to continue or else Missourians do not have any legal recourse. If there are any issues, they can be brought up by the inmates' attorneys. It is why we have an adversarial system. I'll try to get links out later this weekend to stories I read about the slow process in Missouri.

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    How long will the 8/3 date be delayed? Hopefully another date is set soon.

    Missouri hasn't gone this long without justice in a long time!

  9. #9
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    Until he is finished with his appeals. Tisius was re-sentenced to death in 2010.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  10. #10
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Tisius' petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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