State of Missouri v. Andrew A. Lyons

The Missouri Supreme Court blocked the execution of inmate Andrew Lyons. The court said the evidence supports claims that Lyons is mentally retarded, with an IQ of 61 to 70 and that his condition was documented before he achieved adulthood. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that mentally retarded people cannot be executed if their condition was diagnosed while still a minor.

951 S.W.2d 584 (Mobanc 1997)

LyonsAjpgCase Facts: As of September 1992, Andrew Lyons and Bridgette Harris had been living together for three years in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Their eleven-month old son, Dontay, lived with them, as did Bridgette’s two children from a previous relationship, seven-year-old Demetrius and four-year-old Deonandrea. Approximately one week before the murders, Lyons told a longtime friend that he was having problems with Bridgette. Lyons told the friend that “he just felt like killing” and that the “best thing for Bridgette to do…was to get killed…” Around the same time, Bridgette moved out of the house she shared with Lyons. She and the three children moved in with Bridgette’s mother, Evelyn Sparks.

Two days before the murders, Lyons drove his truck alongside Bridgette and her older sister while they were walking on a sidewalk. He stopped the truck and pulled forward the passenger’s seat, revealing a shotgun. The women ran away and reported the incident to the police.

The day before the murders, Lyons told another friend that Evelyn was interfering with his relationship with Bridgette and that “she should leave them alone or he would kill her.” That night, he told Bridgette’s best friend that “I am going to end up killing Evelyn.” Around midnight, Lyons told yet another friend that he was going to shoot Evelyn with his shotgun and “catch a train out of here.”

On the morning of Sunday, September 20, 1992, Lyons went to Evelyn’s house, where Bridgette was staying. He and Bridgette argues. Lyons left, went back to his house, and grabbed his shotgun and a duffel bag packed with clothes and ammunition. Shortly after 10 a.m., Lyons returned to Evelyn’s house. Evelyn was in the kitchen. Bridgette, Deonandrea, and Dontay were downstairs in the basement. Demetrius heard a loud noise from upstairs an went to see what happened. On his way, he passed Lyons coming down the stairs carrying a shotgun. Demetrius saw his grandmother lying on the kitchen floor and ran to his room. In the basement, Lyons shot Dontay once and shot Bridgette once.

Lyons then drove to the house where his half-brother Jerry DePree was staying. Lyons asked DePree to follow him to the house of his friends John and Gail Carter si that he could drop off his truck. Upon arriving at the Carter’s house, Lyons went in to talk to Gail. He told her that he had killed Bridgette and Evelyn and that he has shot Dontay by accident. Lyons went back outside and transferred the shotgun and duffel bag from his truck to De Pree’s car. Lyons got into DePree’s car and told him to drive away. DePree asked him what was wrong, and Lyons told him he had shot some people and that the police would probably be looking for him. DePree dropped Lyons off at Trail of Tears State Park. Lyons left his shotgun in DePree’s car.

Back at Evelyn park’s house, another of Evelyn’s daughters arrived around 11:00 a.m. She found her mother on the kitchen floor and called the police. The police discovered Bridgette and Dontay in the basement. All three were dead. Evelyn died from massive hemorrhaging and tissue destruction caused by a gunshot wound above her left hip. Bridgette died from massive hemorrhaging and tissue destruction caused by a gunshot below her right shoulder. Dontay died from extensive brain tissue damage secondary to a contact gunshot wound to the left eye.

When DePree learned later in the day that Evelyn, Bridgette, and Dontay had been shot to death, he turned over Lyon’s shotgun to the police. The shell casing found in the shotgun and the two shell casings found at Evelyn’s house matched the shell casings of cartridges fired from the shotgun by the States firearms examiner.

Lyons was arrested in the afternoon and confessed to shooting Evelyn, Bridgette and Dontay that morning.