State of Missouri v. Robert Driscoll

711 S.W.2d 512 (Mo. banc 1986)

Robert Driscoll was released from prison on 3-31-04 after being found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter. Driscoll was originally found guilty of Murder I and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released because he had already served that amount of time.

AUDIO: Oral argument on appeal before Missouri Supreme Court

Case Facts: On the evening of July 3, 1983, Driscoll and his cellmate, James Jenkins, were serving and drinking homemade wine in their cell in the B wing of Housing Unit 2 at the Moberly Training Center. When guards noted this activity, Officer Jackson ordered Jenkins to leave the cell, but Jenkins refused, and Jackson called additional officers to help remove him. Anticipating a search, the inmates in B wing threw knives and other items of contraband out of their cells. However, Driscoll, who had assembled a knife he made from a metal ruler and other materials he acquired while working in the prison’s sign shop, stuck the knife in his waistband and walked into the hallway with other inmates.

Officer Jackson then returned with two other officers. They removed Jenkins from his cell and began to escort him through B wing toward the security control center in the rotunda area. Inmate Roy “Hog” Roberts told the others that “[if they] let the correctional officers take Jimmie Jenkins out of there, they were a bunch of sorry inmates.” As the officers walked Jenkins through B wing, inmates shouted, “You’re not taking Jimmie anywhere,” and finally, “Let’s rush them.” Before Officer Jackson could follow the other officers and Jenkins into the rotunda, a group of approximately 25 to 30 inmates, including Driscoll, charged toward him.

During the ensuing melee, Roberts, who weighed more than 300 pounds, grabbed Officer Jackson and held him from behind while Driscoll and then inmate Rodney Carr stabbed him. Numerous inmates fought with other correctional officers, and three officers besides Jackson were stabbed. After Driscoll stabbed Jackson, he dropped the knife, which Officer Robert Wilson recovered and kept in his belt. Eventually, Officer Jackson was taken to the infirmary, where he was pronounced dead. He had stab wounds in both his chest and abdomen, but the wounds to his chest penetrated his heart and lungs and caused his death.

Once the correctional officers restored order, Driscoll and other inmates returned to B wing. Driscoll went to his cell and changed his clothes. According to inmate Joseph Vogelpohl, who had taken refuge in the cell, Driscoll said, “Did I take him out, Jo-Jo, or did I take him out?” Driscoll also told his cellmate Jenkins that he had “killed the freak.”

The next day a Department of Corrections officer and a highway patrol officer interviewed Driscoll. He was advised of and waived his Miranda rights, then gave and signed a confession that the officers reduced to writing. After giving a detailed description of the riot, Driscoll added:

“When the fighting started I got hit, and I pulled the knife out and started stabbing at the officer in front of me. At this time I did not know who the officer was. I don’t know how many times I stabbed him, or if I stabbed him more than once.”