Sikeston man's appeal denied in 2007 fatal shooting case

Monday, April 26, 2010

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A rural Sikeston man convicted for the killing of a Morehouse man with a shotgun outside of a Sikeston bar has lost an appeal.

Lee Roy "Chuck" King II, 36, was convicted in 2008 of the March 27, 2007, shooting death of 37-year-old Richard L. Sterling.

Initially charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action by Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd, King was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action Dec. 12, 2008, by a Butler County jury on a change of venue.

In February 2009, Butler County Judge Mark Lee Richardson sentenced King to 30 years in prison.

Boyd said the jury was instructed by the court on what constitutes first-degree and second-degree murder and on voluntary manslaughter -- the charge the jury eventually decided on.

In court, the defense argued that Sterling had made threats to King's daughter and had once tried to run King off the road.

"But that never came out during his confession to the police officers when he turned himself in," Boyd said. "The allegations of prior threats and prior action by Sterling was something that came up after he got an attorney."

In the appeal, the defense argued that the trial court refused to instruct the jury on involuntary manslaughter.

"I argued against involuntary manslaughter and won," Boyd said.

In considering the appeal, the court found that instruction on involuntary manslaughter was not necessary based on the physical facts and defendant's conduct even taking the facts in a light most favorable to the defendant.

On the night of the shooting, Sterling reportedly had sent King four back-to-back text messages about 7 p.m. while King was at his home.

About 9:15 p.m. that night, King called Sterling, got his shotgun, loaded three shells and made the 15-minute drive to the bar while making additional calls to Sterling.

Upon pulling into the parking lot, King reportedly fired three shots at Sterling from the vehicle.

During the trial, King claimed that as Sterling rushed up with hands hidden, he feared that Sterling had a gun.

The autopsy of the victim showed Sterling was shot twice in the back, however.

"He drove 15 minutes to kill him," Boyd said. "His conviction stands is the bottom line."

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