A southwest Missouri man who killed three and wounded four in a church shooting nearly two years ago will spend the rest of his life in prison.
54-year-old Eiken Elam Saimon pleaded guilty to the violent assault on the First Congregational Church in downtown Neosho on August 12, 2007. Saimon killed three leaders of a Micronesian congregation which used the church after the regular Sunday morning services. Killed in the attack were 43-year-old Pastor Kernel Rehobson, 44-year-old Intenson Rehobson and 53-year-old Kuhpes Jess Ikosia, all from Goodman.
Newton County Prosecutor Jake Skouby says he agreed to accept a guilty plea after consulting with the families of the victims. Skouby says family members unanimously agreed to concluding the case without a trial and without seeking the death penalty. The case was scheduled to begin in June in Greene County.
Saimon, who is a native of the Micronesian island of Pohnpei, used a semiautomatic pistol and a .22-caliber handgun to open fire on the congregation. After the initial carnage, he held about 20 church members hostage and threatened to kill them. A team of officers stormed the church and subdued Saimon.