(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Updated at 2:30 p.m March 3, 2011:

A jury has found Todd Shepard guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The process now goes to the punishment phase, in which prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch is expected to call for the death sentence.


While on the stand today defendant Todd Shepard did something few in his place do -  he admitted to his crime.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:

  • The Jennings City Council voted 6-to-1 last night to enter a contract with the St. Louis County police department to handle the municipality's police services. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the lone no vote came form Councilwoman Yolanda Austin , who is claiming she has flied a lawsuit to block the contract. St. Louis County has been overseeing the Jennings police Department since November 1. The one-year contract would cost $2.8 million. The Post-Dispatch reports the current budgeted cost for Jennings to run its own department is about $3.1 million.
  • A Missouri House Republican wants to require labor unions to get written permission from their members before deducting dues form their paychecks. The legislation by House Speaker  Pro Tem Shane Schoeller would require workers to sign a forma every year authorizing the deductions. They would also have to give written consent for their dues to be used for political activities. Schoeller, from Willard, says workers should be able to decide how to spend their own money. Labor groups say the bill would require too much paperwork. They also say dues are not used for political activities. They say those activities are financed from a separate fund to which members make voluntary contributions.
  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Police Retirement System endorsed changes Monday to pension benefits for newly hired St. Louis police officers. The changes call for all participants, including those currently enrolled, to contribute 9 percent of their salary, up from 7 percent. According to the system's executive director, the changes would saved the city about $600,000 a year to start, and about $10 million annually after about 20 years. The Post-Dispatch reports that new officers would have to wait longer to be eligible for benefits and would not be able to receive a lump sum refund on their contributions upon retirement. Exacerbated by the bad economy, cost for city contributions to police, firefighter and other employee pension systems have ballooned by millions in recent years. City leaders have said employees face almost certain layoffs if cost cannot be trimmed.

  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a judge has postponed the trial of Christopher Coleman, who's accused of killing his wife and sons. His defense lawyers asserted they needed more time to examine DNA evidence. Jury selection in the trial was to begin Tuesday. On Thursday, the judge also denied a defense effort to exclude Coleman's taped six-hour interview with Columbia police on May 5, 2009, the day the bodies were found in the family's home.
(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

The former top police officer in Fredericktown, Mo. has been sentenced to multiple life terms for molesting two young brothers over several years.

Judge Ted House on Friday told Kenneth D. Tomlinson II "you're every parent's nightmare."

Tomlinson pleaded guilty in November to 22 counts related to sexual abuse.

The boys were ages 11 and 13 when the abuse began. Tomlinson was the Scout master of a Boy Scout troop the boys joined.

The Wentzville Police Department says a program started last month to collect unused prescription medication has so far been a success.

The program helps keep medications from contaminating the water supply and to keep them away from children and others who might abuse them.

photo courtesy of UMSL News

St. Louis is back on top, but it's not a list city residents are proud to headline.  For the first time since 2004, St. Louis again tops CQ Press' crime ranking list, earning our fair city the unwanted title of "Most Dangerous."  CQ Press uses publicly available FBI crime data to make its list, but how crime data gets reported and collected across the nation, is a complicated issue.  We tried to break it down a bit on today's St. Louis on the Air.

St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office

Updated at 3:45 with comments from Indian community.

Updated as of 2:15 p.m. after 1:30 p.m. court appearance:

(Julie Bierach, St. Louis Public Radio)

North St. Louis County law enforcement will be stepping up efforts in the fight against drunk driving this holiday season after receiving a grant to purchase a Breath Alcohol Testing, or BAT van.
The BAT van helps keep officers on the street to detect more impaired drivers, as opposed to hauling individual arrests to police stations. The van will be shared among the North St. Louis County police departments, including 36 different law enforcement agencies.