State of Missouri v. Ricky Lee Grubbs

Cite as 724 SW 2d 494 (Mo.banc 1987)

Ricky Lee Grubbs was executed on October 21, 1992

Case Facts:  The victim, Jerry Russell Thornton, lived in a trailer in the town of Miner in Scott County, Missouri. On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 15, 1984, Grubbs and his brother Randy went to Thornton’s trailer. Grubbs was acquainted with Thornton, having been at his trailer once before. Randy had previously worked for Thornton. Both brothers wore gloves while in the trailer. When they left the trailer, Thornton was dead. When the body was discovered, its hands and feet were found bound with neckties. The victim had suffered massive injuries to his upper torso, including thirteen broken ribs and a cracked sternum; a laceration of the liver and damage to the small intestine; abrasions and lacerations on the face; a broken nose and a brain hemorrhage. Grubbs and his brother had been drinking when they went to the trailer. Although they entered with permission, Thornton, who had been drinking heavily, told Grubbs he did not like him and wanted him to leave. Grubbs stated that when the victim came toward him he became scared and struck him repeatedly. After Thornton had fallen to the floor, Grubbs and Randy “hog-tied” Thornton with neckties. Grubbs then cut Thornton’s throat.

Approximately thirty dollars and some food stamps were taken from the victims’ trailer. The next day Grubbs and Randy returned to the trailer in order to set it on fire and destroy the evidence. Late that evening, the fire department was summoned to put out the fire and Thornton’s body was discovered.