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Missouri jury hands down first death sentence in nine years

by Associated Press | April 5, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Advocates to abolish the death penalty in Missouri are expressing their disappointment after a St. Charles County jury handed down what they said was the first death sentence in Missouri in nine years.

According to Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a St. Charles County jury on Friday night recommended a death sentence for Marvin Rice, 54, for the 2011 murder of Annette Durham, the mother of his child.

Rice, a former Dent County sheriff's deputy, was earlier convicted of murdering Durham in 2017. A judge in 2017 sentenced Rice to death after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. The Missouri Supreme Court later affirmed the conviction, but ordered a new sentencing.

Rice was also sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder in the killing of Durham's boyfriend, Steven Strotkamp, but the Missouri Supreme Court in 2019 overturned that case and ordered a new trial.

Rice's case was moved to St. Charles County from Dent County because of the publicity attached to the case, and because of Rice's former job there.

Supporters of Rice said he was taking several medications due to a brain tumor and other physical and mental health issues at the time of the offense, affecting his impulse control and causing paranoia.

Authorities said the killings of Rice's former lover and her new boyfriend were over a child custody dispute.

Rice was working for the state Corrections Department at the time of the murders on Dec. 10, 2011, near Salem.

Rice led authorities on a chase from Salem after the killings and was arrested in Jefferson City after a shootout with officers at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. He still faces Cole County charges, but no new trial dates have been set in the case, now scheduled to be held in Callaway County on a change of venue.

Rice is scheduled for sentencing later this month in the Durham case.

Officials with Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said there are currently 14 pending death penalty cases in Missouri, four of them scheduled for 2022, and two of those are in St. Charles County.

Print Headline: Missouri jury hands down first death sentence in nine years


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