Kennett, Mo., man sentenced to life in prison for 2008 murder

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

KENNETT, Mo. -- A Kennett man was recently sentenced to life in prison for the April 2008 murder of a local woman.

On April 16, Cleveland Pulliam, 69, of Kennett withdrew his not guilty plea in the murder of Jacqueline Kaye Farmer, 47, also of Kennett, and was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, and to a 10-year consecutive sentence for armed criminal action.

On April 27, 2008, Farmer's body was found by a family member at her residence at 226 W. Ninth St. in Kennett.

The Kennett Police Department, along with the Dunklin County Major Case Squad, the Bootheel Drug Task Force, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control opened an investigation into the death.

According to a statement released by Kennett Police assistant chief Steve Williams in 2008, Kennett police were called to the residence, where Farmer's lifeless body lay in the front room of the home.

Soon after, Pulliam was named the key suspect by investigators and was arrested and charged by local authorities.

Kennett police chief Barry Tate said Farmer was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy by Dunklin County Coroner Jack Adkins concluded that her death was a homicide and was a result of stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

In September, Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Sokoloff said he would push for the death penalty because Farmer's death was "was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture." He specifically stated that the cause of death was asphyxiation, stabbing and trauma.

According to Sokoloff, this was only the second time in the last 10 years that Dunklin County has pushed for the death penalty. The other case, that of State v. Ronald Harrison in 2003, resulted in Harrison being found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life plus 50 years instead of the death penalty.

Robert Wolfrum of St. Louis represented Pulliam in the case.

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