St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on July 8, 1987 · Page 19
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 19

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 8, 1987
Page 19
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3 JUL 8l987r 12A Illinois ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Wed., July 8, 1987 Murder From page one arrest. Sobbing, Gerlitz said, "After all this time I'd lost faith, I'd lost faith in everything. I feel like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders." Kocis said the motive for the the killing remained a mystery. "It probably started out as a robbery," he said. "But we don't know if it was a burglary that went awry or a home invasion or exactly what happened." Police have called the beating was one of the most brutal crimes they had seen. Ingram lived alone at 1831 North 48th Street. She was found there Sept. 27, 1984, by police who were summoned when friends could not reach her by telephone. Investigators said then that the front and back doors of the house had been broken in and that a purse and jewelry box were missing. "Naturally, it feels good to make an arrest in a case like this," Kocis said. "While it's certainly not going to bring the victim back to life, it may provide some gratification for the family." He said this kind of development inspired detectives to stay with their cases no matter how old the crimes become. He declined to say what had led police to suspect Gilmore except that it was a break that had occurred Sunday and Monday and involved "a certain piece of evidence." The fact that Gilmore was already in jail was a pure coincidence, he said. East St. Louis police Detective Sgt. J.W. Cowan said Gilmore was arrested in the early morning hours of July 3, in the act of raping a young woman who was taking a shortcut through the Samuel Gompers public housing complex. Gilmore lives nearby. Cowan said Gilmore had ignored passers-by who shouted at him to stop the rape and had continued until police arrived. The victim was struck several times by her attacker, Cowan said. She was treated for rape at St. Mary's Hospital in East St. Louis and released. Kocis said Gilmore was on parole for a burglary conviction. Gilmore's bond on the sexual assault charge was set at $75,000. No information about bond on the murder charge was available Tuesday. Russell From page one body liked. He said they were "a typical father and son." Todd Russell said he had quarreled with his father about 10 a.m. Friday in the home they shared at 29 Janet Drive, just outside Belleville, said Lt. Otto Jakob, chief detective for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department. Todd Russell said he was angry at his father for drinking too much alcohol and for threatening to put him out of the house when he turns 18 on July 18. Todd Russell told deputies that he had struck his father but that they had cooled down before he left. He said he had given his father an ice pack. After spending the day with a grandmother in Millstadt, the younger Russell said, he returned home late In the evening to find his father in bed and having difficulty breathing. His father was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Belleville, where he died at 9:05 a.m. Saturday. Todd Russell was taken into custody at the hospital. He told investigators that he had not meant to kill his father, Jakob said. He was charged with murder later Saturday. Thomas Russell, 42, had been a Marine who saw combat in the Vietnam War. He went on disability after hurting his leg in a fall more than a year ago, Vogler said. Todd Russell works as a stock handler at a discount store in Fairview Heights. He graduated from Belleville Township High School West only about a month ago. His bond was posted by his mother, Patricia De-Bord of Princeton, Ind., who is divorced from his father. DeBord and Todd Russell's attorney, Melroy B. Hutnick of Belleville, both declined comment Tuesday. A spokesman for St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said an exact cause of death had not yet been determined. Lisa Franke, a top assistant to State's Attorney John Baricevic, said that office would have no comment on whether Todd Russell might have been charged with a lesser offense bad it not been for a change in Illinois' murder laws that took effect recently. Under the new law, the old charge of murder becomes Murder I and the former voluntary manslaughter becomes Murder II. A legislative sponsor said the intent was for charges to be filed as Murder I in either type of case with a court deciding whether to reduce it to Murder II. Franke said the sponsor's opinion did not necessarily mean that a Murder II charge cannot be filed by the prosecutor at the outset of a case. "It may be up to the courts to decide that later." she said. Besides his son, Thomas Russell Is survived by a teen-age daughter. Amy Russell, also of Belleville. Wealth Club Leader Gets Life In Slaying SANTA MONICA. Calif. (AP) The leader of the Billionaire Boys J Club has been sentenced to Hie in prison for the slaying of a man who double-crossed him in an investment scheme. But the club leader, Joe Hunt, still faces trial in the slaying of the father of a club member. Hunt, 27, was sentenced Monday to hfe ithout possibility of parole in (the slaying of Ronald Levin, Missouri Buys Railroad Land Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau JEFFERSON CITY Missouri has bought about 200 miles of abandoned railroad right of way that state officials want to convert into a hiking and biking trail. The state paid the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. $200,000 for the land. The money to buy the trail had been donated to the state. The contract says Missouri can cancel the agreement if a judge rules that the state cannot develop the trail. A group of people owning land adjacent to the trail has gone to court to block the project; the suit is pending. Frederick A. Brunner, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, announced Tuesday that the state had reached an agreement to acquire the land from the railroad, which is known as the Katy. The contract was signed about a week ago, a spokesman for Brunner said. Handyman Charged In Girl's Rape, Murder By Joan Little Of the Post-Dispatch Staff Authorities have charged an unemployed handyman from Calverton Park with murder and rape in the killing of Angela Abernathy, a 14-year-old girl from north St. Louis County. She was strangled to death over the weekend. St. Louis County police say the man, Mark Eugene Ball, 23, of 191 Bascom Drive, was a friend of the victim's stepfather, Michael Vrabel. Besides the rape and first-degree murder charges filed Tuesday, Ball was charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action and first-degree burglary. He remained in the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton. His bond was $300,000. Sgt. Ted Zinselmeier of the county's Crimes Against Persons bureau said Ball had confessed to police that he raped and murdered Angela about 2:30 a.m. Friday in a vacant house at 156 Flora Drive. Ball told detectives that after the killing, he slept next to Angela's body until about 11:30 a.m. Friday, Zinselmeier said. Ball lives in the same neighborhood as Angela, who lived with her parents at 145 Williams Boulevard, in the unincorporated area of small, frame homes known as Burke City. The area is just south of Florissant and west of Calverton Park. Zinselmeier said investigators had focused on Ball after interviewing the victim's family and neighbors. About 60 police officers and detectives had blanketed Burke City after Angela's body was discovered Sunday at the vacant house on Flora Drive, in the same neighborhood. Zinselmeier said: "We went to every residence. ... I would estimate we probably interviewed 125 to 150 people." Investigators learned from the family that Ball had done small repair jobs around Angela's home Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week. He did the work with Vrabel, the stepfather. Angela's mother, Annette Vrabel, told investigators that she had noticed that Angela would leave the room last week whenever she encountered Ball in the home. Zinselmeier said police believed it was "pure chance" that Ball had encountered Angela outside her home in the early morning hours of Friday. Police believe Angela had sneaked out of her home shortly after 1 a.m. Friday, when her mother had last seen her, Zinselmeier said. Angela apparently walked to the parking lot of the Burke City Church of God, at 120 Flora. Zinselmeier said the parking lot is a favorite hangout for neighborhood teen-agers. Angela was wearing an oversized T-shirt, shorts and no shoes. Ball has told police that he was out walking when he saw Angela on the parking lot. He held a knife to her, took her to the vacant house nearby, taped her arms together and raped her, Zinselmeier said. During the assault, Angela fought back. Ball told detectives that he "put one hand across her mouth and doubled up his other hand into a fist and held it against her throat until she stopped breathing," Zinselmeier said. Ball was arrested by county police , Monday night at the intersection of Gott and Flora drives in the Burke City area. Zinselmeier said Ball had approached a detective and said, "I think you want to talk to me, since you talked to my two brothers." Zinselmeier said police had recov- ' ered Ball's fingerprints inside the va-: cant house. Ball apparently has no criminal record, police said. Neighbors have described the victim as a friendly, well-liked girl from a close family. She was an eighth-grader at Ferguson Middle School and had been attending summer school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District to make up credits needed to enter McCluer High School in the fall. LaRouche Pleads Innocent To Conspiracy BOSTON (AP) Political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges that he conspired to stymie a federal investigation into allegations of a $1 million credit-card scam to finance his 1984 campaign for president. U.S. Magistrate Robert B. Collings said he would rule on a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mark-ham for a $20,000 bond and revocation of LaRouche's passport. Mark-ham also asked that LaRouche be required to check in weekly with court personnel. 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