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Jury recommends death for Mo. couple’s killer

LEBANON, Mo. (AP) — A jury on Friday recommended that a 33-year-old man receive the death penalty for killing an elderly couple who interrupted a burglary at their southern Missouri home in July 2010.

The Laclede County District Court jury deliberated for about four hours before reaching its sentencing recommendation for Jesse Driskill, of Lebanon. Jurors convicted him Wednesday of first-degree murder in the deaths of 82-year-old Johnnie Wilson and 76-year-old Coleen Wilson at their isolated home near Lebanon. Both were shot, and Coleen Wilson was raped before their attacker tried to burn their bodies.

Laclede County Circuit Judge Kenneth Hayden will consider the jury’s recommendation when he sentences Driskill on Nov. 5 for the two murder counts as well as forcible sodomy, forcible rape, burglary and five counts of armed criminal action.

The jury was brought in from eastern Missouri’s Franklin County and sequestered throughout the trial, which opened Monday with state Attorney General Chris Koster assisting Laclede County prosecutor Jon Morris.

Investigators, relatives of the slain couple and other witnesses testified that the Wilsons — who had just celebrated their 59th anniversary — confronted Driskill when they arrived at their home near Bennett Spring State Park early on the morning of July 26, 2010.

Family members concerned about their welfare discovered their bodies the next day.

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