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State beefs up argument for death penalty in Stoddard County murder case
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The state filed paperwork Tuesday adding more aggravating circumstances supporting its intent to seek the death penalty against a Bernie, Mo., man accused of brutally stabbing another man to death.
The original intent to seek the death penalty was filed by then-prosecuting attorney Briney Welborn. His successor, Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russell Oliver, filed the additions.
Allen McCoy, 37, along with his 38-year-old wife, Angela McCoy, are charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two unclassified felonies of armed criminal action in connection with Aubury Lee Finch's death on Aug. 28.
Finch, 67, was found dead inside his Bernie, Mo., home after authorities received information from witnesses indicating Allen McCoy had told them he had stabbed the man several times, as well as robbed him.
"My statement includes additional aggravating circumstances that his previous filings did not include," Oliver said.
The first aggravating circumstance claims the murder was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhumane in that it involved torture or depravity of mind due to the following:
* Allen McCoy killed Finch as part of his plan to kill more than one person and thereby exhibited a callous disregard for the sanctity of all human life;
* He committed repeated and excessive acts of physical abuse upon Finch by repeatedly stabbing him more than 10 times and the killing was therefore unreasonably brutal;
* He killed Finch knowing that Finch was physically disabled and helpless, and he thereby exhibited a callous disregard for the sanctity of all human life;
* Allen McCoy, while killing Finch, purposely mutilated or grossly disfigured Finch's body by repeatedly stabbing him beyond that necessary to cause his death;
* Allen McCoy inflicted physical pain or emotional suffering on Finch, and he did so for the purpose of making Finch suffer before dying; and
* He killed Finch for the purpose of causing suffering to another person and thereby exhibited a callous disregard for the sanctity of all human life.
Oliver cited four additional aggravating circumstances, including that Finch's murder was committed while Allen McCoy was engaged in the attempted commission of another unlawful homicide of Chester True.
True's wife, Jesslyn, testified at Angela McCoy's preliminary hearing earlier this month that the McCoys came to her Holcomb, Mo., residence on the afternoon of Aug. 28.
The McCoys, according to Jesslyn True's testimony, came to the back door of her residence, asking to speak with her husband about employment.
Angela McCoy, she said, also wanted Jesslyn True to give a message to Chester True from her father, who had previously worked for him. Jesslyn True told the McCoys they were not hiring because her husband now was retired.
True said she didn't unlock the door, but spoke to the McCoys, who she had never seen before, through it. She estimated they were at her home between 1:15 and 1:45 p.m.
Additional aggravating circumstances cited by Oliver include:
* Allen McCoy murdered Finch for the purpose of receiving money and other things of monetary value from Finch;
* Finch's murder was committed while Allen McCoy was engaged in the perpetration of the crimes of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and stealing committed against Finch; and
* Finch's murder was committed while Allen McCoy was knowingly aiding or encouraging Angela McCoy in the perpetration of the crimes of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and stealing committed against Finch.
The McCoys, who continue to be held in the Stoddard County Jail, are to appear at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 16 before Presiding Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp for arraignment on the charges.