Kirkwood | St. Louis Public Radio

Kirkwood

Defendant in Mo. sex slave case changes plea

Dec 20, 2011
(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A suburban St. Louis man has pleaded guilty to participating in the commercial sex trafficking of a woman whom prosecutors allege was coerced into being a sex slave.

Thirty-three-year-old Bradley Cook of Kirkwood entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Kansas City.

The case revolves around a woman who said she was a teenager when she moved into the rural Lebanon, Mo., trailer of co-defendant Edward Bagley and his wife. The accuser said she was used as a sex slave for years and came to authorities only after going into cardiac arrest after a torture session.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oc. 22, 2011 - U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, challenged Kirkwood to do "three big things" to help heal the community from the wound of the deadly Feb. 7, 2008, shootings at city hall.

Editor's weekly: Kirkwood Roots are black and white

Aug 23, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2011 - Kirkwood Roots, a multimedia presentation that explores the history of African Americans in my hometown, opened at the Missouri History Museum Saturday.

Kirkwood landmark faces uncertain future

Jul 27, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 27, 2011 - Fresh flowers, the hum of the nearby highway, signs advertising fresh meat and homegrown vegetables greet customers walking into McDonnell's Marketplace and are just a few of the many traits that make it a Kirkwood icon.

However, come this fall, the well-known landmark may be closing its doors, if no buyer is found.

Chesterfield has been named among the top-ten towns in the state by Missouri Life magazine.

Joplin was listed as the number one town, and was closely followed by Chesterfield, which ranked second.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Almost three years have passed since Charles "Cookie" Thornton attacked the Kirkwood City Council in one of the deadliest assaults on a government body in modern American history.

In a two-minute fusillade on the evening of Feb. 7, 2008, the high school track star turned charismatic community leader turned town pariah murdered five city officials before he was killed. A sixth official, Mayor Mike Swoboda, was critically injured and died several months later.

Participants including Harriet Patton, president of the Meacham Park Neighborhood Improvement Association, and Bob Sears join hands during a memorial service Saturday evening at Douglas Memorial Church of God in Christ in Meacham Park.
Anthony Soufflé | For the Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During the months after the Feb. 7, 2008, Kirkwood City Hall killings, several hundred residents gathered every couple of months to discuss how to achieve greater community understanding and healing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Officials from the city of Kirkwood and the U.S. Department of Justice will sign a formal agreement Thursday, completing a two-year racial mediation process that followed the killings on Feb. 7, 2008, in the Kirkwood City Hall. Five city officials and the gunman were killed. A sixth official, Mayor Mike Swoboda, was critically injured in the shootings and died later that year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sept. 5, 2008 - A film on white privilege had just concluded and the 140 people at Saturday's meeting of the Community for Understanding and Healing were about to break into discussion groups when they received the shocking news. Former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda had died earlier in the morning Swoboda had been gravely wounded in the Feb. 7 City Hall shootings at which five city officials had been killed by Charles L. "Cookie" Thornton. The killings had led to the formation of the community group.

A film on white privilege had just concluded and the 140 people at Saturday's meeting of the Community for Understanding and Healing were about to break into discussion groups when they received the shocking news. Former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda had died earlier in the morning. Swoboda had been gravely wounded in the Feb. 7 City Hall shootings at which five city officials had been killed by Charles L. "Cookie" Thornton. The killings had led to the formation of the community group.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Walking carefully with the help of his son but looking remarkably well, Mike Swoboda entered the room to a standing ovation. Fifty people stood around the edge of the spectator section, which seated another 75. More than 50 others spilled out the door and into the gentle spring air. A battery of five television cameras in the back of the room recorded the event.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Stock story lines about loners and psychopaths fail to explain Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton’s murderous assault this winter at the Kirkwood City Hall — an attack that killed two police officers and three city officials and gravely wounded the mayor, my friend.

Nor do stock story lines about race explain how evil found a home in our idyllic little railroad town turned suburb, where some people feel comfortable leaving their doors unlocked.

Pages