State of Missouri v. Robert Murray

744 S.W. 3d 762 (Mo. banc 1988)

Robert Murray was executed on July 26, 1995

Case Facts:  On December 6, 1985 at 12:05 a.m. a man identified as William Murray entered an apartment at 2331 A Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Present in the apartment were Jeff Jackson, Craig Stewart, Gladys Nutall and Claudia Hennings. Murray left the apartment, but returned about thirty minutes later with two other men identified as Robert Murray, his brother and Jesse Craig.

Upon arrival, William Murray announced a holdup and told everyone to “get on the floor”. Robert Murray and Jesse Craig entered the apartment after the holdup as announced. One of the victims, Claudia Henings, observed Robert Murray wearing a mask and when she confronted him by name he removed it.

Robert Murray held a gun on the four victims while a search of the apartment was conducted by William Murray and Jesse Craig. Robert Murray took Ms. Henning’s purse and Mr. Jackson’s wallet while William Murray took Ms. Nutall’s purse and Mr. Stewart’s wallet. William Murray then asked Mr. Jackson if anyone else was coming to the apartment that night. Mr. Jackson told him that another person was coming around 3:00 a.m. to give him a ride to work. The perpetrators decided to stay and wait.

Toward the end of their wait William Murray then told Ms. Nutall to go in the kitchen with him where he raped her while Robert Murray looked on. During the rape Robert Murray also sexually assaulted Ms. Hennings in the living room. After being bound and gagged Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stewart were taken into the kitchen where the Murrays hit them and threatened to stab them in order to persuade them to give up more money.

In the meantime, Ms. Hennings made her escape by jumping out of the second floor window and running for help. She told police that as she was running she heard gunshots being fired. Ms. Nutall reported that she was able to run down the stairs as Ms. Hennings was jumping out the window, but before leaving the apartment she looked into the kitchen and saw Robert Murray hold Mr. Stewart up and shoot him in the back. Ms. Nutall then went to a nearby grocery store where she told a security guard what had occurred.

When police arrived at the scene they found Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stewart lying in the kitchen apparently dead from gunshot wounds. An autopsy report confirmed the observation of the police officers.

Robert Murray was later arrested on December 7, 1985 and identified in a lineup as one of the perpetrators. In a statement to the police, Murray offered information about the crime scene that had not been revealed to him by the police which further implicated him.

Legal Chronology

12/6 – The bodies of Jeffry Jackson and Craig Stewart are discovered in a St. Louis City apartment.

1/9 – An indictment was filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City charging Robert Murray and is brother William Murray with the first degree murders of Jeffrey Jackson and Craig Stewart and two counts each of robbery and armed criminal action.
7/16 – The first degree murder charges against Robert Murray are severed from the robbery and armed criminal action charges at Mr. Murray’s request.
12/8 – Robert Murray’s trial on two counts of first defree murder began in St. Louis City, Missouri, the Honorable Brendan J. Ryan presiding.
12/4 – Robert Murray was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and the jury recommended a sentence of death for each murder.

2/6 – A motion for new trial was denied, and Robert Murray was sentened to death for both killings.
2/11 – Notice of Appeal filed with the Missouri Supreme Court.

5/15 – Pro se post-conviction motion under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.1 5 filled in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City.
8/8 – Amended Rule 29.1 5 post-conviction motion filed.
9/8 – The Supreme Court of Missouri affirs the denial of petitioner’s motion for post-conviction relief.
9/26 – The amended Rule 29.1 5 motion is denied by the Circuit Court of St. Louis City following an evidentiary hearing.
10/3 – United States Supreme Court denies certiorari in the direct 29.1 5 appeal.

8/1 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirms the denial of the Rule 29.1 5 motion.

2/20 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari on petitioner’s appeal of the denial of his Rule 29.1 5 motion.
3/1 – Petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri.
4/2 – Amended petition for the writ of habeas corpus filed.
7/31 – Second amended petition for the writ of habeas corpus filed.

4/8 – Second amended petition for the writ of habeas corpus denied.
6/3 – Motion to alter or amend judgment denied.
7/8 – Notice of Appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals filed.
11/13 – New counsel appointed and case remanded to the Federal District Court by the Eigh Circuit Court of Appeals for filing of third amended petition in the District court to allow new counsel to present additional claims.

3/13 – Third amended petition for habeas corpus fild.
8/23 – Third amended petition for the writ of habeas corpus denied.

9/6 – The eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the denial of petitioner’s third amended petition for the writ of habeas corpus.

6/12 – The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari on petitioner’s habeas corpus action.
6/30 – The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its mandate.
7/5 – The Missouri Supreme Court sets July 26, 1995 as Murray’s execution date.