707 S.W. 2d. 365 (Mo. Banc 1986)
Richard Steven Zeitvogel was executed on December 11, 1996
Case Facts: On March 25, 1984 at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., Richard Zeitvogel strangled his cellmate, Gary Wayne Dew, with red double-strand wire leaving a distinctive pattern around the victim’s neck.
At 4:30 p.m. Zeitvogel called a correctional officer to his cell to report that he had strangled Dew. Department of Corrections investigators found the murder weapon in a book belonging to Zeitvogel. The texture of the red wire matched the injury pattern around the neck of Gary Dew. Investigators were also able to determine that Dew had attempted to remove the wire during the struggle based on marks that were found on his neck.
Zeitvogel later told authorities that he strangled Dew because he wanted to receive a death sentence so that he could room with capital punishment inmate Frank Guinan on death row.
Guinan and Zeitvogel had been co-defendants on a previous murder case which occurred at the Missouri State Penitentiary on January 25, 1981. Zeitvogel was later convicted of this charge and was sentenced to Life (50 years without parole). Guinan was executed at the Potosi Correctional Center on October 6, 1993 for this offense and a second death sentence he received in the murder of another inmate.
The victim in this case, Gary Wayne Dew, was serving a seven year sentence for Burglary First Degree from St. Louis City. He was received in the Missouri Department of Corrections on November 11, 1981.
10/11 – Zeitvogel was arrested for Armed Robbery and Rape in Pulaksi County, Missouri. While being held in the Phelps County jail, Zeitvogel attempted an escape.
05/29 – Zeitvogel pleaded guilty to Escape in Phelps County, Missouri while being held on the Armed Robbery and Rape charges. He was sentenced to two years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the escape charge.
05/06 – Zeitvogel was convicted of Rape and Armed Robbery charges in Pulaski County. He was sentenced to 15 years for Rape and five years for Armed Robbery in the Missouri Department of Corrections to run concurrently.
01/25 – Zeitvogel was arrested at the Missouri State Penitentiary Jefferson City for Capital Murder and Assault with Intent to kill. On January 21, 1982 in the Cole County Circuit Court, he was found guilty and sentenced to Life (50 years without parole) for Capital Murder and 30 years for Assault with Intent to kill. These two sentences were to be served concurrently, however both sentences were to run consecutively to his other sentences from 1976.
3/25 – Richard Zeitvogel arrested for the murder of his cellmate at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.
1/9 – Zeitvogel found guilty by a jury of Murder First Degree. The jury recommends a sentence of death.
4/15 – Zeitvogel is formally sentenced to death.
3/25 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Zeitvogel’s conviction.
10/6 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari.
11/7 – Zeitvogel files a post-conviction motion in the Circuit Court of Cole County.
7/24 – The Circuit Court of Cole County denies Zeitvogel’s post-conviction motion.
9/13 – The Missouri Court of Appeals affirms the Cole County Circuit Court’s denial of the post-conviction motion.
5/15 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari.
5/26 – Zeitvogel files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
2/18 – The petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
2/28 – The United States Court Appeals for the Eighth circuit affirms the District Court’s decision to deny the motion for writ of habeas corpus.
10/21 – The United State Supreme court denies certiorari.
10/29 – The Missouri State Supreme Court sets December 11, 1996 as the date for Zeitvogel’s execution.