Inmate convicted of conspiring in guards' killings

Saturday, July 13, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- An inmate accused of conspiring in the shooting deaths of two Randolph County jailers was convicted of first-degree murder, with prosecutors calling the man "an Osama bin Laden type" because he ordered someone else's death.

It took Boone County Circuit Judge Frank Conley just an hour on Thursday to find Roy Vance guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2000 shooting deaths of jailers Jason Acton and Leon Egley.

"It's exactly what we asked for," said special prosecutor Bob Ahsens. "This is a very interesting case because the man took no action himself. He's an Adolf Hitler type or an Osama bin Laden type. He made sure it was done."

Vance attorney Thomas Jacquinot said he would ask for a new trial. "We felt Mr. Vance was guilty of murder in the second degree," he said.

Vance also was convicted of one count of armed criminal action. Conley, who set sentencing for Aug. 16, could give Vance life in prison without parole. Because Vance waived his right to a jury trial, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

The judge said he would decide on a fourth charge, attempted escape, after defense and prosecuting attorneys file briefs on the matter before Vance is sentenced. But Ahsens said the state might not pursue that charge because Vance has already been convicted on the other counts.

Vance was an inmate at the Randolph County Jail in Huntsville at the time of the shootings. He was found to have assisted with the jailbreak attempt that failed after Vance's friend, Michael Tisius, and girlfriend at the time, Tracie Bulington, failed to find the cell keys.

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