State of Missouri vs. Elroy Preston

Preston died at the state prison in Potosi on December 6, 2013. An autopsy will be conducted. The department does not suspect foul play was involved.

673 S.W.2d 1 (Mo.banc 1984)

PrestonECase Facts:  Elroy Preston had been living temporarily with his brother Ervin in the downstairs portion of his house. Ervin was a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. Pee Wee Richardson and Betty Klien lived together upstairs. All were present in Ervin’s quarters for an evening of heavy drinking. During the course of the night, frequent alcohol-related verbal disputes were exchanged between the three men over petty issues, including who was to sleep where and whether some chicken which had been purchased was to be shared with Pee Wee Richardson.

Pee Wee and Betty eventually went upstairs to bed, with Elroy Preston from time to time interrupting their slumber with trips to their room. Angry for a continuing assortment of reasons, Preston made a final trip upstairs and ordered Pee Wee and Betty to come back downstairs. In the presence of Ervin and Sherry Brown (Preston’s girlfriend), Preston announced to Pee Wee and Betty that he would kill them just as soon as he removed his clothes. The idea behind the clothes removal was to keep splattered blood off of them. True to his word, Preston removed his clothes and proceeded to stab and critically wound Pee Wee with a hunting knife. Then with a single swipe of the knife he severed Betty’s spinal cord at the neck, killing her instantly. He immediately returned his attention to Pee Wee and stabbed him several more times in the chest and abdomen. Pee Wee died as a result of five stab wounds to the body, face and hands, the latter coming as he tried to ward off the lethal blows. He also absorbed four incised wounds. The killings complete, Preston took some left over fried chicken and dipped it in the victims’ blood and ate it with relish, all the while aiming deprecatory remarks at his stone dead victims. With this bizarre bit of action completed, Preston and Sherry Brown dragged the bodies to a back alley and left them there to be discovered by the neighbors. He and Ms. Brown then made some effort to clean the blood spattered house.

Elroy Preston was convicted of the capital murder of Pee Wee Richardson and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of second degree murder for the killing of Betty Klein and given a consecutive life sentence.