State of Missouri v. Daniel Anthony Basile

942 S.W.2d 342 (Mo.banc 1997)

Daniel Basile was executed at 10:05 p.m., August 14, 2002.

Audio 1:40 Missouri Corrections Director Gary Kempker briefing reporters following the execution of Daniel Basile.

Audio 1 min Jim Vaniseghem of St. Louis, brother of murder victim Elizabeth DeCaro, reading a statement from the family.

Friends and family of Daniel Basile speaking to reporters from the Missourinet and the Associated Press following the execution. Participants included:

Dennis Watson, the grandfather of Basile’s nine-year old daughter; Lisa Owsley, Wentzville, longtime friend of Daniel Basile; Julie Ferranto, St.Louis, niece of Basile; Terra Murray, St. Charles, sister of Daniel Basile; Desiree Trousdale, Jackson, sister of Daniel Basile; Captain Jeff Militti, army chaplain who was Basile’s spiritual advisor, whose mother often took care of Basile when he was a child. Militti is at home on emergency leave from South Korea.Also heard briefly is Tina Addison, mother of Basile’s daughter. Audio 15:00

BasileBCase Facts: On January 10, 1992 Richard DeCaro had a conversation with James Torregrossa in which he asked if he knew of anyone who could “put a hit on somebody.” DeCaro told Torregrossa that he was not happy in his marriage.

On January 20, 1992 DeCaro purchased a $100,000 insurance policy on his wife, Elizabeth, listing himself as the primary beneficiary. On January 26, 1992 DeCaro struck his wife with their van knocking her through the garage wall into the kitchen. DeCaro received over $30,000 from the insurance company as a result of the incident.

In January 1992 DeCaro asked Craig Wells, manager of a gas station, if he knew anyone who could steal his van. Wells introduced DeCaro to Daniel Basile. When the two met DeCaro offered Basile $15,000 to steal his van and kill Elizabeth. On February 8, 1992 Basile stole the van, drove it to Jackson, Missouri and burned it. He received $200 for the job.

On February 28, 1992 Basile asked his friend, Jeffrey Niehaus for a stolen gun that was not traceable. On March 4, Basile showed his half-brother, Doug Meyer, a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol with pearl-like grips.

On March 6, 1992 Richard DeCaro took his four children to the Lake of the Ozarks and checked into the Holiday Inn at 2:59 p.m. Between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. a witness noticed the DeCaro garage door was closed. Elizabeth DeCaro left work at 2:20 p.m. At 3:00 p.m. a neighbor noticed the garage door was open and the DeCaros’ Chevy Blazer with license plates “RIK-LIZ” was in the garage. The neighbor stopped by and rang the doorbell, but no one answered.

At 4:15 p.m. Basile was seen driving the DeCaros’ Blazer in St. Charles. That evening around 6:30 p.m. Basile called an ex-roomate for a ride stating that “things went down… I did what I had to do.” Basile then called Doug Meyer to see if he had garage space where Basile could work on his car. Basile drove the Blazer to a friend’s house and gave him a “boom box” stereo taken from the DeCaro home. Basile told the friend that he “did this lady.” At 10:30 p.m. Basile drove the Blazer to Meyer’s house.

When Elizabeth DeCaro failed to show up at her sister’s home for dinner and did not answer her telephone, her sister and a mutual friend went to the DeCaro residence. They went through a side door in the garage and found Elizabeth DeCaro lying face down on the kitchen floor.

Police found Mrs. DeCaro with two gunshot wounds in the back of her neck and bruises on her body. When she was shot the gun was in contact with her body and she was either kneeling or lying down. The bullets recovered from her body were .22 caliber. Police found no signs of a forced entry and observed that audio-visual equipment was missing from the home.

On March 7, 1992 Basile called Craig Wells and stated, “It looks like I got set up.” On March 9, Meyer found the DeCaros’ dismantled Blazer in the garage he provided for Basile. Meyer confronted Basile and Basile told him it was “either him or her,” and that he wasn’t going back to prison. On March 11, Meyer contacted the police. Basile was arrested on March 12, 1992 and charged with Murder First Degree.

Legal Chronology:1992
03/06 – Daniel Basile murdered Elizabeth DeCaro.
03/12 – Basile arrested for the murder of Elizabeth DeCaro.

05/26 – Basile convicted of Murder First Degree in the St. Charles CountyCircuit Court.
05/27 – Jury sets punishment as death.
07/01 – Basile sentenced to death for the murder of Elizabeth DeCaro.

01/17 – Basile files a motion for post-conviction relief.

01/23 – Basile’s motion for post-conviction relief is denied.

03/25 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms the conviction and sentence and the denial of post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court.
10/06 – Certiorari is denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

07/01 – Basile files a habeas petition in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
12/16 – Petition for habeas corpus denied by the U.S. District Court.

01/04 – Basile files a motion to alter or amend the judgment.
02/02 – Motion to alter or amend the judgment is denied.

01/09 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirms the denial of habeas corpus.
11/13 – Certiorari denied.

07/02 – The Missouri Supreme Court sets an execution date of August 14, 2002.