May 22, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today that the death penalty sentence given to a Van Buren man for the murder of a Missouri State Trooper is an appropriate punishment.
"The death penalty is an appropriate punishment for the most heinous crimes, and certainly the murder of one of our trusted law-enforcement officials merits this ultimate punishment," Koster said.
Koster commended Carter County Circuit Judge David Evans for considering the facts of the case and accepting the Attorney General's recommendation to impose the death sentence.
Judge Evans sentenced Lance D. Shockley to death today for the brutal ambush killing of Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham in March 2005. Shockley was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Shockley shot Sgt. Graham in the back while Graham was his driveway after returning home at the end of a shift. Graham had been investigating a fatal crash involving Shockley.
"Our uniformed officers are the guardians of our communities and they knowingly put their lives on the line every day," Koster said. "For their protection of us, we owe them the strongest legal protections. We cannot undo the terrible crime of Sgt. Graham's murder. But we can let our law-enforcement community know when one of them is intentionally harmed, we will react with swift and severe legal action," Koster added.
Koster commended Assistant Attorneys General Kevin Zoellner and Page Bellamy for their hard work on the prosecution of this case.