State of Missouri v. Darrell Mease

842 S.W. 2d 98 (Mo. banc 1992)

Death sentence commuted at request of Pope. Darrell Mease was scheduled to be executed on the day Pope John Paul the second arrived in Missouri in 1999 for a 31-hour visit. Mease faced the death penalty because of the murders of three people in southwest Missouri. His execution was delayed until after the Pope had gone home. It never happened. The Pope asked Carnahan to show mercy to Mease. A few days later, Carnahan commuted Mease’s sentence to life without parole. [Missourinet story]

Case Facts: During 1987 Darrell Mease became acquainted with Lloyd Lawrence and participated in the manufacture and sales of methamphetamine. Lawrence told Mease that he would teach him how to manufacture the drug. When this did not occur the relationship between the two men became strained. In late 1987 Lawrence gave Mease some pills which made him sick. Fearing for his safety Mease and his girlfriend, Mary Epps, left the Taney County, Missouri area in December 1987. Before leaving Mease took four pounds of crank and four bottles of a chemical used in the manufacturing process from Lawrence. He placed the goods in a backpack and hid them in the Reed Springs, Missouri area.

Mease and Epps then traveLed across country until they returned to Missouri in May 1 988. Mease had learned in a telephone conversation with his mother that Lawrence was going to kill him. MSse decided he needed to return to Missouri in order to settle his differences with Lawrence.

Mease built a concealed position for himself near the road that led to the Lawrence residence. At about noon on May 15, 1988 Mease observed Lloyd, his wife Frankie and their grandson Willie Lawrence riding four wheeled all terrain vehicles. Willie passed Mease who was hiding in a nearby wooded area. As Lloyd and Frankie Lawrence passed Mease he fired twice with a shotgun hitting Lloyd and Frankie. Mease then shot Lloyd a second time with the shotgun. Mease then came out of his hiding spot. Willie Lawrence then turned around and Mease shot Willie Lawrence with the shotgun. Mease then shot each member of the Lawrence family in the head with the shotgun. Mease took Lloyd’s wallet, a watch and two rings. He removed $600 from the wallet and hid it under a nearby log.

Mease then made his escape with Mary Epps and they left Missouri traveling to various states across the country. In January 1989 Mease was arrested in Arizona on two outstanding felony nonsupport warrants from Stone County, Missouri and an Unlawful Use of a Weapons warrant from Taney County, Missouri. He was returned to Missouri where he confessed to the murders of the Lawrences.