State of Missouri v. Vernon Brown

902 S.W. 2d 278 (Mo.banc 1995)

Vernon Brown was executed at 2:35 a.m., May 18, 2005.

Case Facts
: On October 24, 1986, nine-year old Janet Perkins left the Cole Schoot in north St. Louis around 3:00 p.m. and walked toward her home three and a half blocks away. She generally took the same route each day, west on Enright Avenue. Under normal circumstances, the trip took Less than 15 minutes.
Vernon Brown, who was then using the name Thomas Tur rier, had picked up his stepsons from Cole School and returned to their home on Enright Avenue in time to see Janet walking past. Brown called to her and ultimately enticed her to enter the house.
Browns stepsons saw Janet enter the house. A neighbor’s relative saw Brown on the front porch and Janet walking up the steps to the house, Brown ordered the stepsons to their bedroom and locked the door from the outside. Despite Browns claims that at this point he began suffering PCP-induced blackouts, Brown’s own statements, the testimony of his stepsons, and the physical evidence show that he took Janet to the basement of the house and bound her feet and one hand with a wire coat hanger, forcing her into a crouched position that permitted her head to reach the height of Brown’s genitalia. Brown then strangled Janet to death with a rope.
The next day, law enforcement authorities found Janet’a body in two trash bags near a dumpster in an alley behind Brown’s house. Further investigation raised suspicion about Brown. When suspicion turned to probable cause, St. Louis police arrested Brown on October 27, 1986, confronted him with their evidence, including testimony of a neighbor who had seen Janet enter Brown’s house, and asked Brown to tell them where to find Janet’s missing shoe, raincoat and school papers. Brown led police to a different dumpster in which they found a bag containing Janet’s missing property.
Brown made a videotaped statement implicating himself as Janet’s killer. In a subsequent statement, Brown also admitted killing Synetta Ford, a woman who had been murdered on March 7, 1985.

Updated from Missouri Department of Corrections documents on May 18, 2005.

Legal Chronology

10/24 – Vernon Brown murders Janet Perkins in St. Louis, Missouri.
11/18 – Brown is charged by indictment with two counts of First Degree Murder, including kthe 1985 murder of Synetta Ford.

10/27 – The jury returns a verdict of guilty of Murder 1st Degree.
10/31 – The jury returns a death sentence.
12/13 – The Circuit Court of St. Louis City sentences Brown to death for the Janet Perkins murder conviction.            

07/06 – Brown files a post-conviction relief motion in the circuit court of St. Louis City.

03/08 – Circuit court denies post-conviction relief motion.

07/20 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Brown’s conviction and sentence and the denial of post-conviction relief. State v. Brown, 902 S.W. 2d 278 (Mo.banc 1995).
12/11 – The United State Supreme Court denies certiorari review. Brown v. Missouri, 516 U. S. 1031 (1995).
12/11 – Brown files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

07/05 – The District Court denies the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

02/23 – The Court of Appeals affirms the denial of habeas relief.

02/19 – The U.S. Supreme Court denies discretionary review. Brown v. Luebbers, 5340 U. s. 1135 (2002).
02/25 – The State requests the Missouri Supreme Court to set an execution date.

04/15 – Missouri Supreme Court sets Brown’s execution date of May 18, 2005.