November 5, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that Laclede County Circuit Presiding Judge Kenneth Hayden has sentenced Jesse Dean Driskill to death for the July 2010 murders of Johnnie and Colleen Wilson in Lebanon, Missouri. On August 21, 2013, jurors returned guilty verdicts on two counts of first degree murder, one count each of burglary, forcible rape and sodomy, and five counts of armed criminal action. Two days later, jurors recommended Driskill receive death sentences for each of the two first degree murder convictions.
Judge Hayden today sentenced Driskill to death for each murder conviction and seven consecutive sentences of life in prison for forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and each of the five armed criminal action counts, plus fifteen years for burglary in the first degree.
The Attorney General’s Office, including Koster and Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner, assisted Laclede County Prosecutor Jon Morris throughout the capital murder trial.
In the pre-dawn hours of July 26, 2010, the day after their 59th wedding anniversary, the Wilsons encountered Driskill as he attempted to burglarize their remote home on Marigold Drive, just north of Bennett Spring State Park. He forced the couple back inside their house at gunpoint where he shot and suffocated 82-year-old Johnnie Wilson, and raped and shot to death 76-year-old Coleen Wilson. Evidence suggested that Driskill attempted to burn their bodies in an unsuccessful effort to conceal the evidence of his crimes.
“This was a brutal and heartbreaking crime,” said Koster. “While today’s sentences cannot bring Johnnie and Colleen Wilson back, it affirms our belief in justice under the law. It is my hope that today’s sentence brings some measure of closure for the Wilson family as well as the Springfield and Lebanon communities, where Johnnie and Coleen touched so many lives in a positive way.”
As he did following the August trial, Koster praised the efforts of Laclede County Prosecutor Jon Morris, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Zoellner, and the law enforcement investigators who worked diligently to build the case upon the discovery of the Wilsons’ bodies in 2010.