The State Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Lance Shockley of Van Buren, who was found guilty of murdering Highway Patrol Sergeant Carl Graham, Junior, in 2005.
Schockley appealed the decision on allegations that there were errors in the way the court handled the case, and that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled to uphold the death sentence.
Court documents say Sergeant Graham had investigated a fatal crash in which Shockley reportedly had fled from. Shockley reportedly later ambushed Graham as he pulled into his driveway, shooting him with a rifle, and again with a shotgun.
Below, is background on this story.
The following description is from a story by Todd C. Frankel, published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on March 30, 2005:
Armed with a shotgun, a rifle and fresh directions to a state trooperâ€™s home in the Missouri Ozarks, a 28-year-old man waited for the officer to get off work and then killed him, authorities said Tuesday.
Lance Shockley knew Sgt. Carl D. Graham was looking into his role in a fatal vehicle crash months ago, police said.
Graham was shot March 20 as he stepped out of his cruiser near Van Buren, Mo. He was hit once by a rifle bullet and then at least once by a shotgun blast, authorities said.
Shockley, 28, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, nine days after more than 60 state and federal agents flooded this rural area perhaps best known for its proximity to the Current River.
Shockley was already in custody Tuesday after his arrest March 23 in the fatal accident. Heâ€™d been labeled â€śa person of interestâ€ť by the Missouri Highway Patrol in the shooting. Shockley was at the Carter County Courthouse for a hearing in that case when the murder charge was added.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Shockley borrowed his grandmotherâ€™s red Pontiac Grand Am on March 20 and that same day asked someone for directions to Grahamâ€™s residence. Police said several witnesses spotted a red Grand Am parked on a secluded gravel road just north of the trooperâ€™s home that day.
Shockley owns several firearms, including .223-caliber and .224-caliber rifles and at least one 12-gauge shotgun, according to the affidavit. A search of Shockleyâ€™s house in Van Buren turned up a spent .22-caliber shell. A forensics comparison determined it matched a bullet pulled from Graham, police said.