Hosier’s future: The trial is over but legal procedures continue

For at least the next month, convicted murderer David R. Hosier, 58, will remain a Cole County Jail inmate — because he has not yet been sentenced.

A nine-man, three-woman jury from St. Charles County on Friday recommended the death sentence for Hosier, after convicting him Wednesday of killing Angela Gilpin, 45, on Sept. 28, 2009.

But his attorneys — Donald Catlett and Janice Zembles from the state Public Defenders’ capital crimes office in Columbia — were given up to 25 days to file their motions for a new trial and other post-trial issues, and Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson and his staff have up to 10 days to respond to whatever motions the defense attorneys file.

The attorneys declined to comment Friday on what issues they might raise in post-trial motions, but they raised numerous objections before and during the trial to evidence the prosecution was allowed to present — including the use of Hosier’s 1993 battery conviction in Indiana as a “serious assaultive aggravating circumstance” considered by the jury in recommending the death penalty.

Only if those motions are overruled can Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce impose sentences for the jury’s verdicts convicting Hosier of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, burglary and felony possession of a weapon.

State law requires the Supreme Court to “consider the punishment as well as any (trial or procedural) errors” raised in the appeal, and to make three specific findings about the death sentence itself — whether it was:

• “Imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor.”

• “Excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime, the strength of the evidence and the defendant.”

• Based on evidence supporting the “finding of a statutory aggravating circumstance.”

As required by the U.S. Supreme Court, juries in cases where the death penalty is being sought must consider guilt and punishment separately, so they, essentially, sat through two trials last week — the first to hear evidence so they could determine guilt or innocence and the second to determine the punishment for the first-degree murder conviction.

Missouri law required them to agree unanimously that the crime met one, or more, of 17 specific “aggravating circumstances” the law says must apply to consider the death penalty.

The jury’s instructions Friday gave them only two of the 17 to ponder:

• That Hosier had “one or more serious assaultive criminal convictions” in his past.

Prosecutors argued, and the jury agreed, that his Indiana conviction and eight-year prison sentence for a November 1992 assault on former girlfriend Nancy Marshall met that requirement.

• That Angela Gilpin’s murder in September 2009 “was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of another unlawful homicide.”

Prosecutors argued, and the jury agreed, that Rodney Gilpin’s death at the same time Angela died met that requirement.

Hosier’s attorneys argued his mental health — periods of depression throughout his life, especially after his father was killed in 1971 — was the chief mitigating factor that should have led to a sentence of life without the possibility of pardon or parole.

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