FARMINGTON — A man convicted of murdering a 17-year-old girl and an owner of a country store in Quaker 42 years ago has died.
According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, Farmington Correctional Center inmate John Crump was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. Saturday at Parkland Health Center.
Crump, 62, was serving two life sentences for murder in the first degree from Jefferson County and four years for escape. He was received in the Missouri Department of Corrections on Nov. 20, 1959.
Crump died of apparent natural causes, officials said. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
Crump and a young associate entered Barr Store at Quaker to rob it. They fatally shot the owner, George L. (Lynn) Barr, in the back of the head with a shotgun. They then went to Barr’s nearby home where they bludgeoned 17-year-old Bobbie Lou Shipp to death with the stock of the gun. Crump also seriously wounded Barr’s wife, Valle, by shooting her in the shoulder.
Barr’s 16-year-old daughter, Ella Jo (Barr) Sadler, was so severely beaten by Crump that she suffered massive skull fractures. She was in a coma for three weeks.
Crump pleaded guilty to two murder charges and two charges of first-degree assault in connection with the case. He was given consecutive life sentences for the murders and consecutive 75-year sentences for the assaults. He has been coming up for parole regularly for about the last 10 years, the last time being Dec. 16.
The other young man who was involved in the murders was given lesser sentences and has since been released from prison. Authorities indicated it was Crump who was primarily responsible for the violent attacks and the other man was his accomplice.
Supposedly, the motive for the murders and assaults was to steal the Barr family’s car.
Sadler recounted the horrifying events of that summer day in a book she wrote, “Murder in the Afternoon.” It was published in 1975. Though now out of print, it can be found in most local public libraries and is also still available through Amazon.com on the Internet.