Sentencing hearing scheduled in Buerkle stealing case

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Cape Girardeau County felony stealing case stalled by a prosecutor's recusal, several continuances and two Missouri Supreme Court judge assignments is set to conclude in February at a sentencing hearing.

Judge Gary D. Witt of the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District -- assigned to the case Jan. 4 -- set Joe T. Buerkle's sentencing for 9 a.m. Feb. 22. Buerkle, formerly a lawyer practicing in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, pleaded guilty in August to stealing $325,000 from a deceased client and friend, Don Thomasson.

He's set to be sentenced at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. Buerkle, 67, faces up to 15 years in prison.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said at Buerkle's plea in August the amount of prison time he gets depends largely on how much restitution he pays to Lane Thomasson, the deceased's daughter, who was the primary beneficiary of the account.

Swingle recused himself in November, citing a conflict of interest in his motion to have a special prosecutor appointed.

Stephen Sokoloff, Dunklin County prosecuting attorney who was assigned to the case after Swingle's recusal, did not return phone calls early Monday to discuss the case.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

44 N. Lorimier St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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