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Mo. Supreme Court lets Baumruk death penalty case stand

By JIM SALTER

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to overturn the conviction of Kenneth Baumruk, who was sentenced to die for killing his wife and wounding four others in a St. Louis County Courthouse shooting spree nearly 20 years ago.

The court let stand lower court rulings denying Baumruk’s claims of ineffective counsel.

It wasn’t clear if the Missouri attorney general’s office would seek an execution date, though appeals to federal courts were likely. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster declined comment. Baumruk’s attorney, William Swift, did not return a message seeking comment.

At 73, Baumruk is the oldest man on Missouri’s death row.

Baumruk’s case has been in litigation for years. He initially was ruled incompetent for trial partly because of head injuries suffered when he was shot by police. He was eventually found guilty and sentenced to die in 2001, but the case was thrown out. A retrial in 2007 also ended with a guilty verdict and death sentence.

The May 1992 rampage still resonates at the courthouse in Clayton. Authorities say Baumruk carried two .38 caliber handguns in his briefcase during divorce proceedings, pulled them out and began to shoot.

He shot his wife first, killing her, then shot and injured her attorney and his own. He shot at the judge but missed. When the judge escaped through a door behind the bench, Baumruk — gun drawn — went into the hallway after him.

In the hallway, Baumruk shot a bailiff in the shoulder, then fired at two police officers, a prosecutor’s office investigator and a security guard. Only the security guard was hit in the hallway.

Additional police arrived. Baumruk shot at another officer but missed, and police returned fire, striking Baumruk nine times. Two bullets struck him in the head.

Baumruk was weeks away from execution in 2009, when the Missouri Supreme Court set an execution date. It was postponed due to appeals.

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