October 31, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today a Benton County jury has found John Michael Loomis, 26, guilty of 1st degree murder and armed criminal action in the 2007 stabbing death of Christopher Cornell, 19, of Bolivar. The case was heard on a change of venue from Polk County.
Koster said the jury handed down their guilty verdict after witnesses testified that Loomis pepper sprayed Cornell and then hit him with a bottle over a drug debt dispute at a party at Loomis’s house. Following the assault, the witnesses left Loomis’s house, except for his fiancée. Later that night, the defendant and his fiancée cleaned up the victim’s blood and put his body in his pick-up truck. Koster said Cornell’s body was found in the bed of the truck at a Bolivar apartment complex two days later. The body was covered with trash and furniture. Cornell had eleven deep lacerations to his head, had been shot numerous times in the head with a pellet gun, and his throat had been slashed.
Loomis told the police in a video statement that he acted in self defense and in defense of his fiancée and her children. The defendant’s fiancée pleaded guilty in Polk County to tampering with evidence.
“Though nothing can undo this senseless murder,” Koster said, “I’m pleased to see that justice was served and a murderer will be removed from society.”
Judge John Sims has set Loomis’s sentencing for January 4. He faces life in prison without parole.
Koster said Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bock of the Attorney General’s Public Safety Division assisted Prosecuting Attorney Ken Ashlock in prosecuting the case.