Grand jury indicts man in religious supply store attack

1 week 4 days 2 hours 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
COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department issued a warrant Friday for a suspect in a January homicide in north Columbia.... More >>
39 minutes ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 5:35:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A fire broke out in the back of an advanced disposal garbage truck at around 2:10 pm on... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 3:51:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A recent report shows Columbia hasn't made much improvement when it comes to creating a safe and friendly... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 3:47:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Boone County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help finding 60-year-old Garland Wisley who has been... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 3:33:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians can get free help with their taxes from University of Missouri students through April 15. The... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 2:00:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A judge dismissed criminal charges Friday against a Kansas water park owner and the designer... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 1:41:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in Top Stories
SEDALIA - A Friday search at a home in Sedalia ended with two people in custody on drug-related charges. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 1:38:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson is one of seven newly appointed members to the Council of Governors by President... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 12:26:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
MOBERLY — The Randolph County prosecutor charged a Moberly man Thursday with enticement of a child after he allegedly offered... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 12:03:00 PM CST February 22, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- The producers behind Fox's "Empire" have decided to remove actor Jussie Smollett's character from the final two episodes... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 11:37:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fairgrounds has three potential buyers after the lease is up in December of 2019. ... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 10:57:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
OSAGE BEACH — Police arrested two women after a high-speed chase Thursday, which started after the women stole items from... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 10:45:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Judges could ignore mandatory minimum sentencing laws for some nonviolent offenders under a bill passed Thursday... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 9:44:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Cole County Circuit Court issued a subpoena Thursday for former Gov. Eric Greitens. The subpoena... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 7:53:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals attending Pope Francis' summit on preventing clergy sex abuse have called for a new culture... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 4:41:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Rock Bridge High School's "Global Village Week" is a chance for students to come together and teach one... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, February 22 2019 Feb 22, 2019 Friday, February 22, 2019 12:26:00 AM CST February 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Commission met Thursday night to discuss the effects of the increases made earlier this... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, February 21 2019 Feb 21, 2019 Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:36:00 PM CST February 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - If passed, Senate Bill 254 and House Bill 499 would immediately revoke a person's driver license if... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, February 21 2019 Feb 21, 2019 Thursday, February 21, 2019 9:25:00 PM CST February 21, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 39°
7pm 39°
8pm 39°
9pm 38°
10pm 38°