September 20, 2014

Supreme Court sets execution date for triple-murderer Mark Christeson

The state Supreme Court has set a date for the execution of convicted murderer Mark Christeson. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection early the morning of October 29 at the prison in Bonne Terre.

Mark Christeson (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Mark Christeson (courtesy; Missouri Department of Corrections)

Christeson, 35, was sentenced to death in 1999 for the murders of Susan Brouk and her children, 9-year-old Kyle and 12-year-old Adrian, at the Brouk’s home near Vichy.

Christeson, then 18, had raped Susan Brouk. He and his cousin, Jessie Carter, then forced her and her children into her vehicle and drove to her neighbor’s pond. There, Christeson cut her throat and her son’s throat before holding the boy in the pond until he drowned. He then suffocated her daughter and pushed her body into the pond, finally throwing Susan into the pond on top of her children where she drowned.

Both men were found guilty of three counts of first degree murder. Jessie Carter is serving life in prison without possibility of parole for his role in the murders.

MU Professor calls findings of UC-Davis autism study exciting

A University of Missouri professor says he’s excited by the findings of a University of California-Davis study that reinforces the need to detect and treat autism spectrum disorder as early as possible.

Associate Professor SungWoo Kahng with the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri.

Associate Professor SungWoo Kahng with the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri.

The study indicates that when infants showing signs of autism were treated between the ages of 6 and 15 months old, they experienced significantly reduced symptoms. Most were reported to have no autism spectrum disorder or developmental delays by age 3.

UC-Davis says treatment for children diagnosed with autism typically begins when they are 3 or 4.

University of Missouri Professor SungWoo Kahng says he’s cautiously optimistic about the findings, but says it drives home to parents and doctors that early detection and treatment are vital.

“It has significant implications for early intervention with kids with autism,” says Kahng. “The sooner parents and practitioners can identify these symptoms and potentially diagnose kids with autism, the sooner the kids can start receiving treatment and the better off the child will be.”

Kahng says most significant, perhaps, is that those carrying out the study were able to identify symptoms of autism in children so young.

“As a behavioral researcher, the idea of intervening at such an early age is very, very exciting,” says Kahng. “It’s something that myself or my colleagues would love to pursue.”

He could have the chance to pursue it. Kahng says more study must be undertaken of larger groups – only seven babies were involved in UC-Davis’ study.

“Until researchers are able to have larger studies that demonstrate a broader change in symptoms, we’re still a little cautious to say, ‘Yes, this is a great method of preventing these symptoms from occurring,’” says Kahng.

Read more about UC-Davis’ findings on the University’s website.

New words will cost Missouri counties thousands (AUDIO)

Twenty-one words are going to cost Missouri Counties tens of thousands of dollars.

They’re the words the legislature left out of its ballot title for the early voting proposal that will be on the November ballot.  A state appeals court says early voting will happen “but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting.”

Election authorities in every county who already had ballots printed, now have to reprint them and include those 21 words.

Atchison County Clerk Suzette Taylor, the president of the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities, has checked the printers who produce ballots throughout the state and has found two-thirds of the November ballots will have to be reprinted–a hard blow to county budgets this late in the year.

Her costs might be as low as $500-$1,000.  But she says the big counties such as Jackson, St. Louis, and Greene could be facing $75,000 to $100,000 in unexpected costs. The state does not reimburse counties for costs of statewide elections.

Taylor calls the situation “terrible” because of the cost and because military ballots start going out today and absentee voting starts Tuesday.

The issue is expected to become the primary topic when her association meets next week.

AUDIO: Taylor interview 4:35

Former Tipton football player to be featured in Time Magazine article under the headline “Is Football Worth It?” (VIDEO)

Chad Stover's story is remembered one year later. (Photo/Time Magazine)

Chad Stover’s story is remembered one year later. (Photo/Time Magazine)

The town of Tipton, Missouri is approaching the one year anniversary of that fateful Halloween night when a routine tackle took a sudden turn towards tragedy.

Chad Stover suffered an injury on the football against Sacred Heart.  An injury in which Stover never recovered from.  The story not only gripped the small town, but it seemed to hit home to all of us in Missouri…and now the nation.

Sean Gregory of Time Magazine has an article coming out in the September 29th issue featuring the Stover Family.

Below is an excerpt of the article.

It was halloween night, and the Tipton Cardinals needed a tackle. trailing 27-18 in the opening round of the Missouri high school playoffs, a stop here—on first down and 10 with less than seven minutes to play—would help keep Tipton’s fading season alive.

As the running back took the Handoff and sprinted right, Tipton’s Chad Stover, a 16-year-old defensive back, dove at his legs with arms outstretched. Chad’s head collided with the runner’s right thigh as the back dodged the tackle to gain another few yards. Chad went down, and his helmet smacked into the ground.

Chad wobbled to his feet, and after a time-out, he jogged to the sideline. twice, a Tipton assistant coach asked if he felt well enough to return to the game. twice, Chad said he was good. He went back in, and Tipton huddled up. “Something’s wrong,” Chad told a teammate before lining up for the play. Suddenly, his legs turned soft.

“When he walked out the door to play football that day, it didn’t cross my mind that i wouldn’t see him come off that field,” Chad’s mother, Amy, says nearly eight months later. “it just didn’t.”

Incoming House Speaker on mandating body cameras for police in Missouri

The anticipated next leader of the Missouri House has reservations about mandating body cameras for all police in the state.

House Majority Floor Leader and Speaker-elect John Diehl, Jr.  (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Majority Floor Leader and Speaker-elect John Diehl, Jr. (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Two urban state lawmakers say they will file bills that would require all law enforcement officers in the state to wear body cameras. Speaker of the House-elect John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country), says that’s not an issue he thinks should be up to the state.

Earlier story: Two lawmakers want to mandate body cameras for Missouri law enforcement

“I don’t think this is something where it needs to be a state mandate on local governments on how they’re supposed to police,” Diehl tells Missourinet.

Diehl says he anticipates many local jurisdictions will make the decision that using body cameras is a good idea. He thinks it should be up to them, too, to make policy decisions about how to use those cameras.

“For example,” says Diehl, “when is an officer required to have his camera on? What happens if the camera’s not on?”

Diehl makes clear, however, that as Speaker he would not let such bills won’t come up for consideration.

“I don’t want to go that far,” says Diehl. “I’m sure that this is a serious enough decision and a serious enough situation where it warrants some discussion, so I’m not going to make any predictions at this point as to what’s going to move and pass and what’s not.”

Prefiling of legislation begins December 1.