State of Missouri v. Jerome Mallett

732 S.W.2d 527 (Mo.banc 1987)

Jerome Mallet was executed at 12:06 a.m. on July 11, 2001.

Case Facts
: On the evening of March 2, 1985, around 5:30 p.m., Jerome Mallett was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 55 in Perry County by Trooper James Froemsdorf. Before the trooper approached the vehicle, Mallet hid his wallet and identification under the front seat of the ear. When the Trooper asked for his driver’s license, Mallett replied that he did not have it with him. When Trooper Froemsdorf asked him his name, Mallett used his brother Anthony Mallett’s name to escape detection. The Trooper then handcuffed Mallett and searched the car. He found several items bearing the name of Jerome Mallett, including the driver’s license Mallett had hidden previously.

The Trooper returned to his car and called the Highway Patrol radio dispatcher to run a check on the driver’s license. The dispatcher informed Trooper Froemsdorf that Mallett was wanted in Texas on four warrants for probation violation and one warrant for aggravated robbery. At 5:40 p.m., Trooper Froemsdorf, in his last radio transmission, told the dispatcher that Mallett was in custody, that he needed no assistance, and that the dispatcher could contact him next at the Perry County Sheriffs Office.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., a passing motorist, curious at seeing an apparently unoccupied patrol car with its red lights flashing, stopped to investigate and found Trooper Froemsdorf’s body. The inside of the Trooper’s car was a shambles with evidence of a struggle. Found in the patrol car was Mallett’s driver’s license and the other items the Trooper had taken in the search of Mallett’s car. Missing from the Trooper’s car was his .357 magnum service revolver. On the hood of the car investigators found Mallett’s hand print.

Around 7:00 p.m. that evening a St. Francois County deputy sheriff sighted Mallett’s truck and began a pursuit. The chase ended with Mallett missing a turn, running up an embankment and crashing through a fence into a field. Mallett then fled on foot. On the floorboard of Mallett’s car the deputy found Trooper Froemsdorf’s service revolver.

Mallett then swam across a river and spent the first night in a car in a nearby garage. Realizing that authorities were looking for him, Mallet spent the next day hiding in various locations, but when he went to a fast food restaurant he was apprehended after a brief pursuit. Mallett still had Trooper Froemsdorf’s handcuffs secured to his right wrist. It was later discovered that Mallett had suffered an injury as a child which allowed him to compress his hand to nearly the size of his wrist and slip out of the handcuffs.

Mallett was transported to a highway patrol station where he waved his Miranda rights and gave a videotaped confession. He admitted to shooting the Trooper, but claimed it was an accident. In the investigation of the killing of Trooper Froemsdorf an autopsy was performed which disputed the claim of an accidental shooting.

Legal Chronology:

03/02 – Jerome Mallet shot and killed Missouri State Highway Patrol Officer James Froemsdorf on Interstate 55 in Perry County, Missouri.
05/13 – Mallett is charged by information with Murder First Degree.

01/13 – Mallett’s trial begins on a change of venue from Perry County to Schuyler County.
01/22 – Mallett is found guilty of Murder First Degree.
01/23 – The jury recommends the death sentence for Mallett.
03/07 – Mallet is sentenced to death by the court.
03/17 – Mallett files a motion for appeal.

06/16 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms the conviction and sentence.
11/25 – Mallett files a motion for post-conviction relief in the Schulyer County Circuit Court.

06/06 – The Circuti Court grants in part and denies in part the montion for post-conviction relief.

04/18 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms in part and reverses in part the post-conviction judgment. The conviction and sentence are upheld.

02/26 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari review.
03/09 – Mallett files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

07/29 – The District Court denies the petition for writ of habeas corpus in an unpublished order.

11/16 – The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the denial of relief.

10/04 – The U.S. Supreme Court declines discretionary review.
10/04 – The State requests the Missouri Supreme Court to set an execution date.

06/05 – The Missouri Supreme Court sets July 11, 2001 as Jerome Mallett’s execution date.