The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

March 19, 2013

Man convicted in bank robbery dies in prison

A Missouri man convicted of a robbery in Noel that led to the murder by drowning of a banker in 1989 at Grand Lake in Oklahoma died recently in a federal prison in North Carolina.

Joseph A. Agofsky, 46, died March 5, according to online records of the federal Bureau of Prisons. The records do not provide a cause of death for the inmate, and a public information officer for the bureau did not return a call from the Globe on Monday seeking additional information.

Ozark Funeral Home in Anderson reported that a private burial ceremony was held last week for the former resident of Noel.

Agofsky and his younger brother, Shannon Agofsky, abducted bank president Dan Short from his home in rural Benton County, Ark., on Oct. 6, 1989, and took him to the State Bank of Noel and forced him to open the vault. They stole more than $70,000 and then took Short to Oklahoma, where he was bound to a chair weighted with a chain and a concrete block, and shoved from a bridge into the lake.

The brothers were convicted of bank robbery in 1992 in federal court and were assessed life sentences. After several delays, they were tried on capital murder charges in 1997 in a state court in Oklahoma. Jurors convicted Shannon Agofsky of the killing and sentenced him to life plus five years. But the jury could not reach a verdict with respect to Joseph Agofsky, and prosecutors declined to try him a second time.

Shannon Agofsky was assessed a death sentence in 2004 for killing another inmate at a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas. He is on death row at a prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

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