Man Pleads Not-Guilty, Awaits Trial in Cole Camp Triple Murder
COLE CAMP - Robert Blurton entered a not-guilty plea in a preliminary hearing Wednesday, three years since officers initially charged him with murdering his aunt, uncle and their granddaughter at their home on 802 South Elm Street.
In charging Blurton with three counts of first-degree murder, officers allege in the probable cause statement that Blurton entered the residence of Donnie, Sharon and 15-year-old Taron on the evening of June 9, 2009 and subsequently bound and murdered them. After a 911 call at 10:16 p.m., officers responded to the crime scene. According to the statement, on June 17, an undisclosed person identified the voice in the 911 call to Blurton, whom authorities suspect may not have acted alone in the crime.
According to Cole Camp Police Chief "Storm" Walker, "[The crime] was the first homicide we ever had inside the city limits. It was pretty shocking for the community to go through that, and there was certainly fear based on that, because it took us a while to complete the investigation."
The police report indicates Blurton, the son of Sharon Luetjen's sister, lived with the family for a period of time. The report also details that Blurton's brother Marvin Blurton, told police Robert Blurton "may have owed money to inmates he associated with while in prison" for a series of other crimes, including robbery.
In the years since the incident, the Luetjens' home and attached car repair shop have remained vacant with all the windows boarded up. But, according to family friend and banker Larry Stelling, the characteristically close-knit community still remembers the victims.
"The citizens of Cole Camp, Mo. sincerely miss Donnie, Sharon and Taron Luetjen and have found that the wheels of justice definitely turn slow. It is our hope that the accused can be brought to trial and a decision regarding his guilt be made within the next few months," Stelling said.
Because Blurton faces the death penalty, the Cole Camp prosecuting attorney has given the case to Mo. Asst. Attorney General Kevin Zoellner. The trial is scheduled for late October at the Clay County Courthouse, where the trial moved after attorneys filed for a change of venue.