August 4, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today that DNA technology made possible the conviction of Steven J. Burns for the 1984 murder of Pamela Ray in Lafayette County. The Attorney General's office served as co-counsel for the prosecution in the trial.
Koster said Burns was arrested in 1984 in connection to the killing. DNA technology was not available to investigators 25 years ago, and Burns was released for lack of evidence. Koster said the case was reopened in 2005, and DNA testing confirmed that Burns' blood was on the victim's clothing. The evidence placed in context by experts in crime scene reconstruction demonstrated the defendant must have been present when the victim was brutally beaten.
"My deepest sympathy goes out to Pamela Ray's friends and family," Koster said. "The right result was a long time coming in this case, but a combination of science and police work has won out in the end."
Koster said Burns faces life in prison without possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled on September 9 before Clay County Circuit Judge Larry Harman.
Koster commended Page Bellamy, Chief Counsel of the Attorney General's Public Safety Division, and Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Kellie Ritchie for their outstanding work in obtaining the murder conviction.