The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

March 25, 2013

Appeal of woman’s 1995 life sentence reset for hearing

PINEVILLE, Mo. — A hearing in the appeal of Sheena Eastburn before the Missouri Supreme Court has been reset for Tuesday, April 30, after being removed from the court’s docket earlier this year.

Kent Gipson, attorney for Eastburn, said her hearing and a similar case on appeal from St. Louis will be heard at the same time.

Eastburn, a resident of Stella, was charged in 1992 with first-degree murder in her ex-husband’s death and was sentenced in 1995 to life in prison with no chance for parole. She was 17 at the time she was charged.

Her case and the St. Louis case are connected to a June 2012 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama. The court ruled that the Eighth Amendment forbids sentencing that mandates life in prison without the possibility for parole for juvenile homicide offenders. The court’s decision found statutes in Missouri and other states that permitted that sentencing to be unconstitutional.

After the decision, a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the attorney general’s office was taking the position that the court’s decision did not apply retroactively. The Eastburn case, according to Gipson, would address the issue of retroactivity.

The attorney general’s office, which filed a brief in support of its position on March 22, will represent the state before the court. The attorney general’s office, in its brief, said the court should refuse to hear the case because of procedural problems. A reply brief is due from Gipson in about two weeks.

Gipson said he will argue that Eastburn’s first-degree murder conviction should be vacated and that she should be found guilty of second-degree murder. Such a ruling could open the door for Eastburn, a prisoner at Chillicothe Correctional Center, to be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The appeal to the high court was filed after Circuit Judge Tim Perigo in McDonald County denied a motion for a new trial that was based on claims of ineffective counsel during Eastburn’s 1995 trial.

Eastburn was accused of luring her ex-husband, Tim Eastburn, into the kitchen of his home near Rocky Comfort on Nov. 19, 1992, setting him up to be shot by Terry Banks and Matthew Myers. Myers was sentenced to 67 years in prison on a reduced charge of second-degree murder. Banks was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

Possible scenario

IF THE APPEAL before the Missouri Supreme Court goes forward and is upheld, the matter would revert to Circuit Judge Tim Perigo. He would decide whether a new trial is warranted or whether Sheena Eastburn’s conviction on the first-degree murder charge should be overturned because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

1
Text Only
Crime & Courts
  • Neosho man hurt in scooter accident north of Goodman

    A Neosho man was injured in a scooter accident at 3:40 p.m. Friday on Missouri Highway 59, two miles north of Goodman in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    April 18, 2014

  • Joplin police seize pound of meth after traffic stop

    Joplin police seized about a pound of methamphetamine and $2,000 cash in a traffic stop Thursday at 17th Street and Maiden Lane.

    April 18, 2014

  • Two-year-old boy, stepfather suffer gas-fire burns

    ARMA, Kan. — A 2-year-old boy and his stepfather suffered burns Friday afternoon when a plastic gasoline container left near a fire pit ignited, according to the Arma Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Court date set for defendant in stabbing case

    GIRARD, Kan. — A suspect is being held at the Crawford County Jail on a charge of attempted murder in the stabbing of another man Wednesday afternoon in Girard.

    April 18, 2014

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    A family whose teenage daughter’s suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jeffery Bruner.JPG Defendant denied change of venue in MSSU coach slaying

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a motion for a change of venue for Jeffrey Bruner, the defendant charged with killing Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach Derek Moore.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reeds man granted probation in case involving gunshots

    A Jasper County judge has granted suspended sentences to a rural Reeds man who tore up a campsite with his truck in a drunken rage and fired a gun at another driver and a sheriff’s deputy.

    April 17, 2014

  • Joplin man faces burglary charge after incident

    A 31-year-old man is facing a burglary charge following an incident Wednesday afternoon at a business near downtown Joplin.

    April 17, 2014

Local News
Sports
Facebook
Poll

The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, following Russia's buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine. Do you think we should deploy these troops?

Yes
No
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria