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Death penalty case set for Sept. 22 trial

FARMINGTON — A murder case involving the death penalty has been scheduled for trial a year from now.

St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn said Jeffrey Garrett Thurman’s trial has been scheduled for Sept. 22 through Oct. 10 of 2010 before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte.

Jury selection is scheduled for those first three days in Rolla. Jurors will come from Phelps County and will be brought to St. Francois County for the trial, which should officially begin Sept. 27.

Thurman, 24, who is incarcerated, is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of stealing a vehicle. He and David Lee Bradley of Park Hills are accused of murdering Ricky Haynes of Park Hills in January of 2007. Bradley pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

According to court records, Thurman confessed to choking Haynes and then stomping and kicking him in the head.

While Thurman was initially very reluctant to say anything incriminating against Bradley, he told them they loaded the body into the back of Haynes’ truck. He said they stopped at Buford Mountain because they had heard Haynes making gurgling noises. He said one of them struck the man with a tool to make sure he was dead. They then dumped his body in a rural area near Lesterville.

Soon after Haynes disappeared, police began looking for the men to question them about the man’s disappearance and the theft of his vehicles. After being spotted in Desloge in Haynes’ vehicle, they led police on a chase, crashed the vehicle and took off running. They were arrested days later in Jefferson County after being found in another of Haynes’ vehicles.

After speaking with police twice, Thurman went with police to Reynolds County and helped them find the body.

In March of 2007, two months after they were charged, Thurman, with an attorney present, spoke to detectives again — this time detailing more of Bradley’s involvement in the case.

He had initially told police that he “choked out” Haynes because Haynes gave him a look he didn’t like and he had been told Haynes was a child molester. He said Bradley wanted to kill Haynes because of Haynes’ involvement with Bradley’s mother.

Thurman is serving four years in prison for violating the probation he received for possession of a meth precursor drug. He was sentenced in May.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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