NATIONAL NEWS

Missouri prosecutors to seek death penalty in killing of court employee and police officer

May 22, 2024, 3:42 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri prosecutors said Wednesday that they intend to seek the death penalty against a Kansas City-area man who is charged with murder in the killings of a court employee who tried to serve an eviction notice on him and a police officer who responded.

Larry Acree, 70, of Independence, is accused of shooting court employee Drexel Mack on Feb. 29, plus two police officers who came to the scene, including Cody Allen, who was killed. Officers returned fire and arrested Acree, who suffered minor injuries.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker’s office filed a notice with the court saying the state will prove there are aggravating circumstances sufficient to warrant the death penalty. Acree is charged with 18 total counts including two of first-degree murder.

According to court papers, Acree owed delinquent taxes dating back to at least 2019. His 9-acre (3.6-hectare) property and three-bedroom home was sold last August for $260,000, and the new owner paid the taxes. A “Notice to Vacate” sign was posted at the property in February, and authorities have said Acree had no right to be there.

At a brief hearing Wednesday, Acree’s attorney, Edward Berrigan of the Missouri State Public Defender’s office, asked for a continuance so that the public defenders who handle death penalty cases could be reassigned, the Kansas City Star reported.

Acree’s next court date is set for July 10 in Independence, a suburb of Kansas City with about 122,000 residents.

Eleven people are currently on death row in Missouri.

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Missouri prosecutors to seek death penalty in killing of court employee and police officer