ST. CHARLES, Mo. — A former sheriff’s deputy and Missouri correctional officer who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in a child custody dispute was sentenced to death Friday.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Judge Kelly Wayne Parker sentenced Marvin Rice to death in the 2011 slaying of Annette Durham and to life in prison in the slaying of Steven Strotkamp.
A jury in August convicted Rice, a former Dent County deputy, of first-degree murder for Durham’s death and second-degree murder for Strotkamp’s. But the jury couldn’t decide whether Rice should be put to death, leaving it to the judge.
Prosecutors said Rice and Durham had an affair while he was a deputy. Durham, who struggled with addiction, was jailed several times and the boy was born in 2010 while she was in prison.
Dent County prosecutor Andrew Curley said that when Durham got out of prison in 2011, Rice initially allowed her only brief supervised visits with the boy. On Dec. 10, 2011, she was allowed an unsupervised visit and decided that she wanted to keep her son overnight, Curley said.
Rice went to the home outside Salem where Durham and Strotkamp lived and shot the couple. He took the child and gave him to his wife before leading police on a chase that ended in a shootout in a Jefferson City hotel during a Christmas party, Curley said.
Strotkamp identified Rice as his killer before he died.
Lawyers for Rice did not deny that Rice shot Durham and Strotkamp. But public defender Charles Hoskins told jurors that Rice “snapped” when Durham told him, “You’re never seeing (your son) again, and neither is your family.” He argued that Rice was under “extreme emotional distress” and that a pituitary tumor and the 17 medications he was taking affected his impulse control and made him paranoid.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com