On Saturday, March 6, in a case handled by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, a jury convicted Elizabeth Kilgore in connection with the murder-suicide of her husband, Lance Kilgore and father Charles Sander.
“The Missouri Attorney General’s Office boasts some of the best violent crime prosecutors in the state, which this verdict affirms. I’m pleased that my Office was able to obtain justice in this case, and I’m proud of the work that the Special Prosecutions Unit does across the state of Missouri,” said Attorney General Schmitt.
On the morning of September 7, 2018, the defendant’s husband Lance Kilgore was ambushed and murdered by her father Charles Sander at the Port convenience store in Osceola, Missouri, which is located in St. Clair County. The defendant was a jailer at the St. Clair County Jail at the time, and she and victim Lance Kilgore were involved in a divorce and custody dispute.
The evidence at trial established that the defendant vowed that if Lance Kilgore sought custody of their son, she would kill him or have him killed. Throughout 2018, the defendant smuggled contraband to inmates at the St. Clair County Jail. She solicited the inmates, including on recorded jail calls, to kill her husband. In the summer of 2018, the defendant suggested she wanted methamphetamine for her dad so that he could “go out with a bang,” and threatened to turn her dad in for drugs if he did not take care of Lance Kilgore.
The evidence showed that, on September 6, 2018, the defendant arranged for her father Charles Sander to travel approximately three hours from his farm near West Plains, Missouri, to her residence near Osceola. Sander informed a neighbor he was going to the defendant’s place and may not come back. The next morning, September 7, 2018, Charles Sander left the defendant’s residence with the defendant’s 9mm pistol. He left behind his driver’s license, address book and truck. Although the meeting scheduled for that morning was a planned child exchange, the defendant and her son did not attend. Instead, Charles Sander showed up at a child exchange at the Port for the first time. When victim Lance Kilgore arrived, Sander shot and killed him, and then shot himself in the head committing suicide. The murder-suicide was captured on surveillance video.
On the night of September 16, 2018, police apprehended defendant Elizabeth Kilgore pursuant to an arrest warrant. Inside her car, police found methamphetamine, a note from an inmate and more than $9000 in cash, which the defendant admitted was her “run money.”
As a result of the murder-suicide, the defendant’s divorce case and custody dispute were dismissed, and the defendant stood to inherit a share of Charles Sander’s farm near West Plains.
The defendant was charged with First Degree Murder, Introducing a Dangerous Instrument into a County Jail, Acceding to Corruption and Possession of Methamphetamine. The case was tried in Henry County on a change of venue. The jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts. Sentencing is set in April. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant Attorney General Cristian M. Stevens and Assistant Attorney General Julia Rives, as Special Prosecutors assisting St. Clair County Prosecutor Daniel Dysart.