State of Missouri v. Paul Kreutzer

928 S.W. 2d 584 (Mo.banc 1996)

Paul Kreutzer was executed at 12:01 a.m., April 10, 2002.

Members of the victim’s family spoke to reporters   following the execution. Craig Hemphill, husband of Louise (Lou Ann) Hemphill, is the main speaker. He’s joined by Lou Ann’s sister, Sherrie Martin, and Lou Ann’s brother, Greg Brummell. AUDIO  (2:45)

Case Facts
: On September 2, 1992 Paul Kreutzer was observed in the vicinity of the home of Louise Hemphill near Louisiana, Missouri in Pike County. Mrs. Hemphill had returned home after taking one of her three children to school. Her brother had also visited her in the morning and then left the house.

Kreutzer had visited schools in the local area offering to speak to children about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. One of the schools was the one where Mrs. Hemphill had dropped off her daughter. At around 9:41 a.m. Kreutzer purchased a BB gun in Louisiana, Missouri.

At around 4:00 p.m. that day the Hemphill children found their mother upon their return from school. Mrs. Hemphill’s nude body was found laying on the floor of her son’s bedroom. Duct tape was wrapped around the head and foot of one of the beds and pieces of duct tape remained around Mrs. Hemphill’s ankles. Mr. Hemphill was contacted by his children. He returned home and called the police.

Mrs. Hemphill suffered multiple injuries. She had been stabbed in the neck. Bloodstains and duct tape were discovered in the bathroom and the master bedroom. Mrs. Hemphill had been struck at least three times with a baseball bat from her son’s room. The blows from the bat dislocated a vertebra in her neck and brain matter was leaking from the wound. Police found that strangulation was the immediate cause of death. A belt had been Looped around Mrs. Hemphill’s neck and used to strangle her. A hunting knife kept in the Hemphill’s kitchen was found laying on her body. Mrs. Hemphill’s purse was missing. Bloodstains on the bed cover and Mrs. Hemphill’s sweat pants matched hers and Kreutzer. A DNA sample of blood and semen found on the bedcover and Mrs. Hemphill’s person matched that of Kreutzer.

During their investigation police found that Kreutzer, on parole from Illinois, lived less than a mile from the Hemphill’s. Police arrested Kreutzer on the evening of September 2, 1992 at a nearby motel. Officers searched his car and recovered Mrs. Hemphill’s billfold, a pair of gloves with human bloodstains, a roll of duct tape and the BB gun Kreutzer had purchased that morning. Police searched the motel room where Kreutzer was staying and found a pair of jeans with human bloodstains and a receipt for the purchase of the BB gun. Kreutzer was then placed in custody and charged with Mrs. Hemphill’s murder.

Legal Chronology:1991
04/26 – Kreutzer was convicted of three counts of Burglary and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery in Adams County, Illinois. He was sentenced to three and a half years and three years concurrent sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

09/02 – Louise Hemphill is murdered by PauL Kreutzer in Pike County, Missouri.
12/18 – Trial is moved to Callaway County on a change of venue at the request of the defendant.

03/21 – Trial begins in Callaway County.
03/26 – Jury enters a verdict of guilty of murder first degree.
03/28 – The Jury recommends a sentence of death.
06/06 – The court denies a motion for a new trial and sentences Kreutzer to death.
11/29 – Kreutzer files a motion in the circuit court for post-conviction relief.

07/17 – Kreutzer’s motion for post-conviction relief is denied by the circuit court.

08/20 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Kreutzer’s conviction and sentence. The court also affirms the circuit court’s denial of Kreutzer’s motion for post-conviction relief.
12/05 – A petition for certiorari is filed by the defendant.

01/13 – The United States Supreme Court denies Kreutzer’s petition for writ of certiorari.

01/27 – Kreutzer files a petition of writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court.

01/06 – The U.S. District Court denies the petition for habeas corpus.

11/15 – The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the District Court’s denial of Kruetzer’s petition for writ of habeas corpus.

11/01 – The U.S. Supreme Court denies Kreutzer’s petition for writ of certiorari.

03/11 – The Missouri Supreme Court sets April 10, 2002 as the execution date for Paul Kreutzer.