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Single Juror Spares Cop Killer's Life

Single Juror Spares Cop Killer's Life

handout Todd L. Shepard, in a mug shot provided by authorities.

St. Louis Dispatch via YellowBrix

March 06, 2011

CLAYTON – Todd Shepard went looking to murder a police officer on Halloween night 2008, found Sgt. Michael King sitting in his squad car off the Delmar Loop — and, to this day, doesn’t regret shooting him in the head.

King’s family believes that Missouri has a death penalty for people like that. But a St. Louis County Circuit Court jury on Saturday morning disagreed, recommending a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, who prosecuted the case, said one juror had held out on a death sentence.

“It only takes one person to control the entire outcome,” he said.

Susan King, the slain sergeant’s wife, said her family “didn’t feel that it was an appropriate punishment for the crime.”

“We felt it was cut and dry,” she said. “So that’s why we were so surprised by the decision.”

The jury on Thursday convicted Shepard, 43, of Berkeley, of first-degree murder after he admitted on the witness stand that he killed King, 50, a lifelong resident of University City and 25-year member of its Police Department.

Deliberations in the penalty phase came to a deadlock on Friday night. But after Circuit Judge David Lee Vincent III told them to hash it out, they were ready to return a verdict in the morning.


Sgt. Michael King

McCulloch said he learned that one juror disagreed that aggravating factors in the murder case outweighed mitigating factors. A death sentence requires a jury to be unanimous on that issue, he said.

The holdout juror was not identified. Members of the jury were excused through the back of the courtroom and left the courthouse unseen by reporters. An alternate juror, contacted at home, declined to speak with a reporter.

Several members of King’s family shook their heads as the foreman read the verdict Saturday — life in prison without parole.

Shepard’s sister, Sara Henderson — who had testified that her brother was “the best brother” — raised her arms and sobbed, “Thank you, Lord.”

Shepard taunted McCulloch with vulgar names in the courtroom throughout the trial. As bailiffs led him out of the courtroom, he lobbed one more at the veteran prosecutor: “punk-ass fag.” McCulloch retorted, “Get out.”

Vincent set the official sentencing for 9 a.m. April 13.

McCulloch spent about 20 minutes after the verdict speaking in private with several King family members.

The case had special meaning for him, he said later, because his own father, Paul, was slain on duty.

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  • Sfa_iv_max50


    over 1 year ago


    RIP for the LEO, I am not sure getting off that light was right, but the Juror has their right to speak and act their own will.

  • Th_max50


    over 3 years ago


    He deserves the death penalty. Nothing less

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Shepard taunted McCulloch with vulgar names in the courtroom throughout the trial. As bailiffs led him out of the courtroom, he lobbed one more at the veteran prosecutor: “punk-ass fag.” McCulloch retorted, “Get out.”

    Execute Cop Killers. Damn that Juror and Helen I Pray that the juror that held out DOES become a victim. Will put it in perspective. We have less rights and are treated as less than a normal human due to our occupation. Curse that Juror and May Sheperd's soul ROT IN HELL.

  • 179509_413913675314782_526027874_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I pray that the lone juror who held out against putting this cop killer to death never becomes a victim themselves because it is people like this person who are against the death penalty who will be the first to scream for it when they become the vicitim. My heart goes out to the family of this officer who was so close to retirement and his fellow LEO's May he RIP!!! This cop killer should never have gotten life with out parole but should have been given the death penalty because he admitted that he was out looking to kill a officer of the law and that he did not care whose family it would effect. I hope that when he dies that he rots in hell where he belongs!!!! May God protect us from people like this juror who is against giving the death penalty for a killer.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Let the victim be that "lone Juror's" family member and then see how he/she responds regarding the death penalty.
    If he went looking to kill a cop then their are no mitigating circumstances that could justify randomly shooting someone in the head.
    That is the difference between savages and normal human beings: reverence for all life.
    If this person is willing to kill a cop then he is willing to kill anybody, and this juror gave that savage an opportunity to make another family suffer.
    There is something sereiously wrong with our society.

  • Photo_max50


    over 3 years ago


    A record year being set in law enforcement officer deaths for 2011, this decision only gives to reason why the number of deaths are increasing.
    R.I.P. our law enforcemtn brother!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Rest In Peace Sgt."Heaven is not a place of eternal rest, but a place of eternal life".
    POS liberals (jurors) don't believe in personal accountability!.... and the POS convict may or may not be able to use his copkiller status to save his sorry , pathetic ass from other predatory cons, or there is a strong possibility that when someone wants to give him a "zipper" on his face or make him their bitch no one will hear him scream.

  • M_a6d52838fcaf76871a3f162b66e0b424_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Where is the justice in this?? A cop KILLER lives and we pay the bill for housing him in jail. WE pay for his meals, clothing, medical care, education.. Good grief, i realize that the law is the law and for a death sentence the jury has to vote unanimous. I can not believe that if his defiant behavior in the court room was as this article describes, it would prove to EVERYONE on the jury that he is a malicious, outraged, piece of trash. He taunted the DA, and .... oh crap i could go on and on.... Another sad thing is that he will be a hero in prison.. A COP KILLER... the badge of honor. Maybe there will be an "accident" on the way to prison... I feel so sad for the family and all of his friends and fellow officers. this jackwagon admitted to it and showed NO remorse whatsoever. I suppose this is AMERICAN JUSTICE. Just what we need in capital murder cases.... Bleeding Heart Liberals on the Jury..

  • Justice-400_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump Top_Cat. And really, LWOP means his life is over anyway and justice is still being served. RIP Sgt. King.

  • Car_004_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I believe in majority rules, 11 to 1 sounds like a majority to me. I know all 12 have to vote the same but time for a change cause it "ain't" workin'

  • 181601_max50


    over 3 years ago


    wow, How could a cop killer get life in jail when the A@@ Hole admitted to doing it. That juror should be sent to prison as well, They really should do a jury pull and find the real answer as to why he or she would vote against it.

  • Policememorial---a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This is a prime example of why I say we no longer have a justice system, simply a legal system. if there were any justice left in this nation Todd Shepard would have been rotting in his grave a long time ago. Now, we the people, get the pleasure of footing the bill to keep this POS alive for the next 60 odd years while he gets to be a minor celebrity in prison with the other undesirables. And that is supposed to be justice? I don't think so.

  • Meangreen01_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This is BS, I always hated how one could override the majority. Cop killers should get death. Nuff said.

  • Dirty_harry_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If this isn't proof of how the liberal agenda ruins everything, I don't know what is. I agree with brother Jim Bates Jr, That liberal scumbag needs to serve time with that parasite. What a slap in the face to brother King's family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Unbelieveable - that is what is wrong with the sentencing system - 1 bleeding heart is all it takes - premediatated murder of a Police Officer - Admitted with no remorse - this is crazy - now we support this POS for the rest of his life and The officer's family has to live with the fact that this murderer is alive!

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