The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 15, 2014

Murder defendant’s wife obtains protection order

Citing fear that Jeffrey Bruner might come after her if he makes bail on his murder charges, Dawn Bruner has obtained a court order of protection.

A family court judge granted Dawn Bruner an ex parte order of protection a week ago, on the same day that she testified at her husband’s preliminary hearing. The judge granted a full order of protection Wednesday, prohibiting the accused from having contact of any kind with his estranged wife.

Jeffrey Bruner, 40, has been bound over for trial on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the slaying of Derek Moore, a 37-year-old assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. Moore was shot multiple times Nov. 1 as he emerged from a Joplin movie theater complex in the company of Bruner’s wife.

Bruner remained in custody Wednesday at the Jasper County Jail in Carthage, with his bond set at $1 million, cash or surety. Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland set bond at that amount after his hearing last week.

Bruner’s wife wrote on her application for a protection order that he told their teenage daughter on the night of the shooting: “Tonight, I’m going to kill a man, you are not going to have parents, and I’ll be going to jail. What color is Mom’s dress? If I have to look all night for her, I’ll find her.”

The request does not state when her husband allegedly made those statements or how she knows he did. Her testimony and that of a police detective at the preliminary hearing revealed that her husband learned that she was out on a date with Moore when her daughter spotted a photo of them on her Facebook page while she and her father were eating at a restaurant. They went home and looked up the photo again on a computer.

Dawn Bruner wrote on the application that her husband went to the theater “looking for me, found me, and shot and murdered my date, Derek Moore. I am in fear for my life because if he gets out on bail, he will come back to kill me.”

Attorney Ross Rhoades subpoenaed Dawn Bruner as a witness for the defense at the preliminary hearing, and she made a similar profession of fear of her husband. She also asked the judge if she had to answer the defense attorney’s questions since she is the spouse of the defendant, and the judge told her that she did.



Back home

A PROTECTION ORDER granted to Dawn Bruner indicates that she has moved back to the house she shared with her husband and their two children, and that her husband is now prohibited from going there. According to testimony at a hearing a week ago, she had moved out of the family’s home a couple of weeks before the shooting of Derek Moore, intending to seek a divorce in the spring.

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