Man on trial for murder in crime spree case

Friday, December 7, 2001

FULTON, Mo. -- A man accused of killing a rural Missouri couple in 1994 as part of a three-state crime spree could face a second death penalty, if convicted.

Lewis E. Gilbert, already on death row in Oklahoma, was being tried Thursday in Missouri on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of William Brewer, 86, and his wife, Flossie Mae Brewer, 76.

Gilbert also is charged with one count each of first-degree burglary, armed criminal action, felony stealing and first-degree tampering.

The former Ohio native was extradited to Fulton in September 2000 from Oklahoma.

Gilbert and Eric A. Elliott, both of Newcomerstown, Ohio, were arrested in a culvert near Santa Fe, N.M., in September 1994 as authorities investigated the deaths of the Brewers near Fulton; Roxy Ruddell, a security guard who was at Lake Stanley Draper near Oklahoma City; and the disappearance and suspected death of Ruth Loader of Port Washington, Ohio.

Gilbert was convicted as the triggerman in the death of Ruddell and was sentenced by an Oklahoma judge to die by lethal injection. Elliott, who was 16 at the time of the slaying, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Ruddell's death and was given a life prison sentence.

Under an agreement between Missouri and Oklahoma, Gilbert will be sent back to Oklahoma's death row after his trial in Fulton.

According to court records cited Wednesday in the Missouri trial, Gilbert and Elliott were traveling in a stolen vehicle that belonged to a missing Ohio woman when they got stuck in a field near the Brewers' home at Kingdom City, Mo.

Seeking the closest house, Gilbert and Elliott knocked at the Brewers' door and were welcomed in to use the telephone, court records said.

Family members found the body of Flossie Mae Brewer in a downstairs cellar atop a wood pile with her arms tied behind her back and three bullet wounds to the head. Her husband, also shot execution style, was found next to her.

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