State of Missouri v. Allen L. Nicklasson

Allen L. Nicklasson was executed on December 12, 2013

967 S.W. 2d 596 (Mo.Banc 1998)

Allen NicklassonCase Facts: On Aug. 23, 1994, Alien Nicklasson, Dennis Skillicom and Tim DeGraffenreid decided to return to Kansas City after a trip east along Interstate 70 to obtain drugs. They drove a 1983 Chevrolet Caprice. It broke down near the westbound Danville exit on l-70. Sergeant Ahern and Trooper Morrison of the Missouri State Highway Patrol came upon the disabled auto, helped push the car to the side of the road and left the men.The troopers last saw the trio as they walked toward a pay phone.

By the next morning, Aug. 24, 1994, Nicklasson, Skillicorn and DeGraffenreid and their car had made 17 miles of progress further west. Near Kingdom City, the Caprice broke down again. In an effort to find jumper cables, the three approached a Missouri Highway and Transportation Department employee working in the median of the interstate. He could not assist them. They spotted Merlin Smith’s nearby home, decided to burglarize it, and took four guns, ammunition, a skinning knife, money, a pillow case, some change and a cracker box. They stashed most of the stolen property in the bushes, then called for a tow truck to take their car to Roger Redmond’s garage. Redmond’s mechanic found major problems with the car but was able to restart it. The men paid Redmond with a cracker box full of change and left in the car.

Nicklasson and his cohorts decided to try and make it back to Kansas City in their ailing vehicle. First, however, the three men coaxed the car back toward Smith’s house to recover the stolen goods they had previously hidden in the bushes alongside the road. The car gave out again, this time on the south outer road, east of Kingdom City.

Between 4-5 p.m., Richard Drummond saw the stranded Nicklasson, Skillicorn and DeGraffenreid stopped, and offered to take them to a telephone. They accepted. Drummond drove a white, 1994 Dodge Intrepid that belonged to AT&T, his employer. Nicklasson told Drummond to back up the Intrepid to the Caprice. Nicklasson and his friends loaded the stolen property from Smith’s home into the trunk of Drummond’s car, keeping a .22 caliber handgun and a shotgun with them when they got into Drummond’s car. Nicklasson and Skillicorn sat in the back seat. DeGraffenreid sat in the front, passenger seat.

When Drummond took his place in the driver’s seat, Nicklasson put the pistol to the back of Drummond’s head and said, “You’re going to take us to where we want to go.’ Nicklasson and his pals wanted to go back toward Kansas City. Along the way, they decided to kill Drummond. East of Higginsville, they told Drummond to take the Highway T exit. Four miles north of the interstate they turned onto County Road 202. Finding a secluded area, Nicklasson ordered Drummond to stop the car. Skillicorn took Drummond’s wallet. Nicklasson walked Drummond into the woods, ordered Drummond to kneel, told him to say his prayers, and shot him in the head twice. Drummond’s badly decomposed body was found and identified eight days later.

Nicklasson, Skillicorn and DeGraffenreid then continued west on 1-70 in Drummond’s car. They stopped at Joe Snell’s house in Blue Springs. Kelly McEntee, who had dated DeGraffenreid, came to Snell’s house, looking for DeGraffenreid. She knocked on the door. Nicklasson answered, then came outside and said, “Don’t nobody touch my car,” referring to Drummond’s car. With that Nicklasson went to the trunk of the Intrepid and removed a shotgun to assist him in assuring those watching that he did not want them to touch the car. He put the shotgun to McEntee’s head and announced that he would kill her. He did not kill her, apparently satisfied that he had made his point after he hit her in the face.

Sometime later, Nicklasson, DeGraffenreid and Skillicorn left Snell’s and went to Annie Wyatt’s house. Nicktasson told Wyatt that he had killed someone in the woods and described the murder. After a planning session at a local restaurant, Nicktasson and Skillicom decided to drive to Arizona. DeGraffenreid stayed behind. Authorities arrested the two in California, where they were hitchhiking. Arizona authorities found the Intrepid stuck in a sandbar. It contained a letter Nicklasson had written and some of Richard Drummond’s and Metvin Smith’s property. Authorities also found shell casings near the Intrepid that matched those recovered at the Smith burglary scene and the Drummond murder scene.

The jury found four aggravating circumstances supporting imposition of capital punishment;

  1. whether the defendant was convicted of assault in the second degree on April 19, 1990, in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri;
  2. whether the defendant was convicted of offering to commit violence to an officer on March 2. 1993 in the Circuit Court of Randolph County, Missouri;
  3. whether the murder of Richard Drummond was committed while the defendant was engaged in the perpetration of kidnapping or while the defendant was knowingly aiding Dennis Skillicorn and/or Timothy DeGraffenreid in the perpetration of kidnapping; and’
  4. whether the murder of Richard Drummond was committed while the defendant was engaged in the perpetration of robbery.

Case facts above updated on 12/31/13. Source: Media package distributed at time of execution.

Allen Nicklasson was born on July 25, 1972 in Omaha, Nebraska. On June 28, 1996, Nicklasson was ssentenced to death for Murder 1st Degree in Lafayette County. Nicklasson was received in the Missouri Department of Corrections on June 28, 1996.

Statement by Governor Nixon:

Richard Drummond’s act of kindness in stopping to help the occupants of a broken-down car on Interstate 70 in 1994 was repaid with an act of brutal and callous violence. For taking the life of this Good Samaritan, both Alien Nicklasson and Dennis Skillicorn were sentenced to die by Missouri juries, decisions that were upheld by the courts. Tonight, the second of these punishments was carried out with the execution of Alien Nicklasson. I ask that Missourians remember Richard Drummond at this time, and keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Legal Chronology

1994
August 24 – Allen Nicklasson and his compatriot Dennis Skillicorn kill Richard Drummond by shooting him twice in the head.
October 5 – Nicklasson is arrested by officials from the San Diego, California Police Department.
November 15 – Nicklasson is charged by information with first degree murder.

1996
April 22 – Jury trial begins.
May 2 – Jury returns verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree.
May 4 – Jury returns death sentence as punishment for first degree murder conviction.
June 28 – The Lafayette County Circuit Court sentences Nicklasson to death for murder conviction.
July 8 – Nicklasson files a notice of appeal.

1998
February 24 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Nicklasson’s conviction and sentence. State v. Nicklasson, 967 S.W. 2d 596 (Mo. banc 1998)
June 22 – Nicklasson files a Rule 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief in the Lafayette County Circuit Court.
November 30 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari review of the direct appeal. Nicklasson v. Missouri, 525 U.S. 1021 (1998)

2002
April 15 – The circuit court denies post-conviction relief

2003
April 15 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms the denial of Rule 29.15 relief. Nicklasson v. State, 105 S.W. 3d 482 (Mo. band 2003)

2004
September 30 – Nicklasson files petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

2005
April 26 – The district court denies the petition for writ of habeas corpus in an unpublished order.

2007
June 21 – The court of appeals affirms the denial of habeas relief. Nicklasson v. Roper, 491 F.3d 830 (8th Cir. 2007)

2008
April 21 – The United State Supreme Court denies certiorari review. Nicklasson v. Roper, 128 S.Ct. 2052 (2008)