January 5, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today Benton County Judge John W. “Bill” Sims has sentenced John Michael Loomis, 26, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 1st degree murder and 30 years for armed criminal action in the 2007 stabbing death of Christopher Cornell, 19, of Bolivar. The sentences are to run concurrently. A Benton County jury in October found Loomis guilty of the crimes.
Koster said 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 11 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 for the rest of his life.”
Koster said Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bock of the Attorney General’s Public Safety Division assisted Prosecuting Attorney Ken Ashlock in prosecuting the case.