Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC
Phone: 816-318-7943
Offices in Kansas City and Belton, Missouri

Police charge man with rest area murder

On March 22, a 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman at a Missouri rest area last October. The defendant, a St. Charles resident, has been charged with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and armed criminal action.

According to authorities, the victim, a 51-year-old Illinois resident, suffered from multiple mental health issues and often lived in her SUV, parking at various rest areas when her monthly disability payment ran out. At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2018, her body was found next to her SUV at a rest area on southbound Interstate 55 in New Madrid County. She had been shot to death.

Witnesses told investigators they saw a man flee the scene in a red SUV around the time of the alleged crime, but there wasn't a break in the case until recently. Apparently, the defendant had been held on an unrelated firearms charge in Texas since Nov. 14. When he was taken into custody, he was allegedly driving an SUV that matched the vehicle description given by witnesses at the Missouri rest area. He was also in possession of a firearm that matched a shell casing found at the scene. When questioned by investigators, the defendant reportedly said that he approached the victim at the rest stop and asked her for $50, but she called him a racial slur and told him to get a job. According to police, the man said he shot her as a result.

Defendants facing murder charges may help their situation by declining to talk with investigators until they have contacted a criminal defense attorney. The attorney may help ensure that a defendant's rights are protected during police questioning and work to poke holes in the prosecution's case, which might get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: PJ Star, "Charges filed in Halloween slaying of Lewistown woman," Phil Luciano, March 25, 2019

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