Category Archives: Current Death Row Inmates

State of Missouri vs. David Zink

ZinkdavidIn the early morning hours of July 12, 2001, police responded to the report of a traffic accident near Stafford.  On their arrival, they found the victim’s car abandoned with the keys in the ignition and the engine running, the headlights and hazard lights on, and the driver’s window down.  Police found the victim’s personal items in the vehicle, including her purse, credit card and medication.

After the evening news broadcast the victim’s disappearance, the owner of a motel near Camdenton recognized the victim’s picture as the woman who checked into a room with Mr. Zink.  The motel owner provided the police with Mr. Zink’s motel registration card, and, using this information, the police apprehended Mr. Zink at his home. After police showed him evidence that placed him near the scene of the abduction, Mr. Zink waived his rights under Miranda v. Arizona,1 and confessed to killing and burying the victim.  He led police straight to the spot in a cemetery where he said he buried the victim’s body, and the police discovered the body positioned just as Mr. Zink had described.  Pathologists found that the victim’s neck was broken, she sustained injuries consistent with strangulation and being tied up, and she had eight broken ribs and between 50 and 100 blunt force injuries.  Semen found in the victim’s anus matched Mr. Zink’s DNA, hair samples taken from Mr. Zink’s truck matched the victim’s hair, and paint left on the victim’s car from the accident matched paint from Mr. Zink’s truck.

In two videotaped confessions, Mr. Zink described the murder in detail.  He said that he rear-ended the victim’s car on an exit ramp.  In one confession, Mr. Zink told police that the victim voluntarily left the accident scene with him in his truck but later threatened to call police if he did not return her to her vehicle.  In another confession, he said that he gave the victim no choice but to get in his truck, but that she willingly went with him after she was in the truck.

After he drove the victim around in his truck, they stayed for a short time at the motel near Camdenton.  Mr. Zink then decided to kill the victim because he was worried he would go back to prison if she called the police.  He took her to the cemetery and tied her to a tree.  He told her to look-up, and then he broke her neck.  He strangled her with his hands, and then with a rope, and stuffed her mouth with mud and leaves.  He looked for a spot to bury her and then dragged her body to that spot with the rope.  Because he was worried that she might revive, he stated that he stabbed the back of her neck with a knife to cut her spinal cord.  He then covered the body with leaves, went home to get a shovel, and came back to the cemetery and covered the body with dirt.

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State of Missouri v. Carman L. Deck

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc., June 1, 1999

On November 7, 2008, Carman L. Deck was sentenced for a third time to death for the 1996 fatal shootings of an elderly couple from De Soto. Two previous death sentences for Deck, now 43, had been overturned on appeal. The death sentence was imposed today at Hillsboro by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gary Kramer, who accepted the recommendation of a jury that heard the arguments for the death penalty in September.

DeckCCase Facts: In June 1996, Deck planned a burglary with his mothers boy friend, Jim Boliek, to help Boliek obtain money for a trip to Oklahoma. Deck targeted James and Zelma Long, the victims in this case, because he had known the Longs’ grandson and had accompanied him to the Longs’ home in DeSoto, Missouri, where the grandson had stolen money from a safe. The original plan was to break into the Longs’ home on a Sunday while the Longs were at church. In preparation for the burglary, Deck and Boliek drove to DeSoto several times to canvass the area.

On Monday, July 8, 1996, Boliek told Deck that he and Deck’s mother wanted to leave for Oklahoma on Friday, and he gave Deck his .22 caliber High Standard automatic loading pistol. That Monday evening, Deck and his sister, Tonia Cummings, drove in her car to rural Jefferson County, near DeSoto, and parked on a back road, waiting for nightfall. Around nine o’clock, Deck and Cummings pulled into the Longs’ driveway.

Deck and Cummings knocked on the door and Zelma Long answered. Deck asked for directions to Laguana Palma, whereupon Mrs. Long invited them into the house. As she explained the directions and as Mr. Long wrote them down, Deck walked toward the front door and pulled the pistol from his waistband. He then turned around and ordered the Longs to go lie face down on their bed, and they complied without a struggle.

Next, Deck told Mr. Long to open the safe, but because he did not know the combination, Mrs. Long opened it instead. She gave Deck the papers and jewelry inside and then told Deck she had two hundred dollars in her purse in the kitchen. Deck sent her into the kitchen and she brought the money back to him. Mr. Long then told Deck that a canister on top of the television contained money, so Deck took the canister, as well. Hoping to avoid harm, Mr. Long even offered to write a check.

Deck again ordered the Longs to lie on their stomachs on the bed, with their faces to the side. For ten minutes or so, while the Longs begged for their lives, Deck stood at the foot of the bed trying to decide what to do. Cummings, who bad been a lookout at the front door, decided time was running short and ran out the door to the car. Deck put the gun to Mr. Long’s head and fired twice into his temple, just above his ear and just behind his forehead. Then Deck put the gun to Mrs. Long’s head and shot her twice, once in the back of the head and once above the ear. Both of the Longs died from the gunshots.

After the shooting, Deck grabbed the money and left the house. While fleeing in the car, Cummings complained of stomach pains, so Deck took her to Jefferson Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted. Deck gave her about two hundred fifty dollars of the Lung’s money and then drove back to St. Louis County. Based on a tip from an informant earlier that same day, St. Louis County Police Officer Vince Wood was dispatched to the apartment complex where Deck and Cummings lived. Officer Wood confronted Deck late that night after he observed him driving the car into the apartment parking lot with the headlights turned off. During a search for weapons, Officer Wood found a pistol concealed under the front seat of the car and, then, placed Deck under arrest. Deck later gave a full account of the murders in oral, written and audio taped statements.

Leonard Taylor

Taylor_leonardCase Facts: On Dec. 3, 2004, a police officer in Jennings, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, responded to calls from relatives worried that they had not heard from Angela Rowe or her children for several days. The officer went to the home where Rowe lived with her boyfriend, Leonard Taylor.

The officer found the bodies of Rowe, 28, and her three children, daughters: Alexus Conley, 10, and AcQreya Conley, 6; and her son, Tyrese Conley, 5. They had been shot.

Taylor had boarded a Southwest Airlines flight from Lambert International Field to Ontario, Calif., on the morning of Nov. 26, 2004. He claimed the victims were still alive when he left. Witnesses and phone records indicated Taylor had already murdered them before his departure. From California, Taylor had traveled to Texas, Alabama and Kentucky before police and federal marshals caught him in the back of a car in Madisonville.

A speck of blood on one of three pair of Taylor’s specatacles police found in his luggage matched Rowe’s blood, a DNA test later revealed.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Kevin Johnson

Johnson_KevinCase Facts: Kirkwood police Sgt. William McEntee was 43, the father of three, and a Kirkwood police officer for nearly 20 years. On the evening of July 5, 2005, McEntee took a call for another officer to the Meacham Park neighborhood over a complaint of fireworks. He was talking to three juveniles when Kevin Johnson walked up to the police car, fired several shots inside it, and then walked away.

Shot in the head and chest, McEntee still managed to get his car in gear and drive it about 200 feet before he crashed into a tree. Some neighbors tried to help the stricken officer, others called police and McEntee managed to get out of the police car. Kevin Johnson returned, fired three more shots and killed him.

Two hours earlier, Johnson’s younger half-brother, Joseph “Bam Bam’ Long collapsed at the house of Johnson’s grandmother. Police and paramedics arrived. “Bam Bam’ was taken to a hospital where he died of a congenital heart condition, an autopsy later revealed. Johnson was upset over his brother’s death. He testified he was in a trance when he shot McEntee.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Vincent McFadden

Vincent McFadden faces the death penalty in two separate cases.

McfaddenVCase Facts: Todd Franklin had been a witness against two members of McFadden’s gang, the “6 Deuces,’ and they had gone to jail. On the evening of July 3, 2002, in the 6200 block of Lexington Avenue in Pine Lawn, a St. Louis suburb, two young men chased Franklin, 19, to a house where men were working. The suspects were later identified by the witnesses as McFadden and Michael Douglas, now serving a lengthy prison sentence.

Witnesses said Douglas shot Franklin and then McFadden fired shots into the prone body of the victim after McFadden took the handgun from Douglas and complained that Franklin was still alive.

On May 15, 2003, just a few blocks from the scene of Franklin’s death 10 months earlier, Leslie Addison, 18, was fatally shot after an argument with McFadden in which he told her to get out of Pine Lawn. McFadden was the boyfriend of Leslie’s sister, Eva Addison, with whom he had a child.

Eva Addison was hiding in bushes when she saw her sister plead for her life and then saw McFadden shoot her. The victim had been shot under the chin and alongside the head.

Case facts courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch