The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

February 17, 2013

State Supreme Court removes McDonald County woman’s appeal from docket

PINEVILLE, Mo. — A hearing in the appeal of Sheena Eastburn before the Missouri Supreme Court has been removed from the docket and will not be heard on Feb. 28.

According to a court spokeswoman, the court did not state a reason for its action. A new date for the hearing was not set by the court.

Kent Gipson, attorney for Eastburn, said he is hopeful the court will reset the hearing date for later this spring.

A brief in support of the appeal for Eastburn — a McDonald County woman who at age 17 was charged in 1992 with first-degree murder in her ex-husband’s death and then in 1995 was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole — was filed in late December.

Gipson, of Kansas City, filed a motion to expedite the hearing and put it on the same track as a similar case on appeal from St. Louis. The state Supreme Court granted the motion. The cases were to be heard on Feb. 28. Now, neither case is to be heard on that date.

A spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster also said the court did not state a reason for its action. The attorney general’s office will represent the state before the court.

The St. Louis case is a direct appeal case that did not ask the court to rule on the issue of “retroactivity” with regard 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 such as that in Missouri and similar statutes in other states that permitted that sentencing to be unconstitutional.

After the ruling, a spokeswoman for 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 that issue. The court expedited Eastburn’s hearing for that reason.

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 be tasked with deciding 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
Top Stories
  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 22, 2014

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014