Grand jury indicts man in religious supply store attack

8 months 1 week 2 days ago Monday, February 11 2019 Feb 11, 2019 Monday, February 11, 2019 3:36:08 PM CST February 11, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis County grand jury has returned a 17-count indictment against a man suspected of killing a woman and sexually assaulting two others inside a suburban St. Louis religious supply store.

The indictment filed Wednesday mirrors charges prosecutors filed in November against Thomas Bruce of Imperial, Missouri. They include one count of first-degree murder, three counts of sodomy or attempted sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, eight counts of armed criminal action and one count each of burglary and tampering with evidence.

Bruce, 53, is jailed without bond.

The attack occurred Nov. 19 at the Catholic Supply store near Ballwin. Prosecutors said Bruce, a onetime minister armed with a gun, forced the three women who were in the store into a back room, where he demanded they perform sexual acts on him.

When Jamie Schmidt, a 53-year-old customer, refused, authorities said she was shot in the head. The indictment said Bruce sexually assaulted the other two women before fleeing. He was arrested two days later.

A phone message left Monday with Bruce's attorney, public defender Brice Donnelly, was not immediately returned.

A spokeswoman for prosecutor Wesley Bell said Monday that the indictment eliminates the need to prove the worthiness of the case at a preliminary hearing. Bruce has an arraignment scheduled for Feb. 20.

Bell, a death penalty opponent who took office in January, has said he will seek life in prison without parole if Bruce is convicted. A spokesman for Schmidt's family said the family agrees with the decision.

Bruce, who claimed to be a Navy veteran on his LinkedIn page, operated a nonprofit church in southeast Missouri from 2003 to 2007. He had no criminal record at the time of his arrest, but the arrest led to charges in another assault .

A 77-year-old woman was attacked in September at her home near Hillsboro, about 40 miles south of St. Louis. Police interviewed neighbors but had no strong leads until the woman saw Bruce's photo on television after his arrest in the religious store assault. Investigators said she "instantly" recognized him as her attacker.

Jefferson County prosecuting attorney Trisha Stefanski alleges Bruce forced his way into the woman's home, grabbed her in a sexual manner and demanded that she perform a sexual act. The suspect fled after the woman's phone rang and she said her husband was on his way home.

More News

Grid
List
ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter is in the hospital again after falling and fracturing his pelvis Monday... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 6:54:38 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia approved an increase in funding for Job Point's affordable houses on Monday. Job... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 5:46:00 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Four attorneys general announced a proposed framework for a global settlement that could resolve lawsuits against five companies... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 4:16:38 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Tiger fans, the Border War is back. Missouri and Kansas have agreed to play... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 8:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
LOUISIANA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation has apologized for posting an edited photo that cropped out a... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 7:14:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A unanimous vote by the Columbia City Council Monday night decided School Resource Officers (SROs) will have another... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 6:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An attorney for a Missouri group pushing to expand access to voting argued in... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 4:19:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA — California police chief Shane Templeton has announced he will resign from his position on October 31. This... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 3:42:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital Center was recognized Monday for a fourth consecutive Magnet® recognition. Magnet is the highest honor... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 2:52:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department said Monday people should be wary of someone spoofing the department's main... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 2:22:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — A clinic quietly constructed in southern Illinois to meet demand for abortion services by residents... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 12:09:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
FULTON - U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer is pushing for legislation that could offer more mobile mammogram services to rural communities... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 10:34:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed formal charges against Cameron White, 19, on Monday, charging him with second-degree murder and armed criminal... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 10:18:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- According to Missouri KidsFirst, almost one in ten kids will be sexually abused by the time they are... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 7:37:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Attorney General Eric Schmitt is set to host four senior safety presentations in October. The presentations,... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 8:43:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - More than 600 people and 11 sponsors gathered in Cosmo Park for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:53:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — David Cover, a co-pastor at The Crossing, addressed the controversy over last week's sermon by fellow co-paster... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police arrested a man on multiple charges after the shooting of a 13-year-old boy Saturday night. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:15:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
9am 47°
10am 49°
11am 51°
12pm 54°