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KKK leaders murder case reaches finale

St. Francois County Deputy Tim Walker leads Paul Jinkerson Jr. from the courthouse on the first day of his trial on May 6. Jinkerson was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on May 7, in connection with his stepfather Frank Ancona's murder.

Frank Ancona's murder case came to an end on Friday morning when his stepson Paul Jinkerson Jr. appeared in circuit court for sentencing.

Jinkerson, 26, had been charged with murder in the first degree, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence, and abandonment of a corpse.

On May 8, at just after 1 a.m. following a two-day trial, a jury found Jinkerson guilty of involuntary manslaughter, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence, and abandonment of a corpse in connection with the death of Frank Ancona, who was locally and nationally known as a KKK leader.

Jinkerson's sentencing was held at 8:30 a.m. on Friday in front of Circuit Judge Wendy Wexler Horn. Jinkerson appeared in person and by his attorney Eric Barnhart. 

Barnhart had filed a motion for acquittal and a motion for a new trial. Judge Horn denied both of Barnhart’s motions. Judge Horn then reviewed the sentencing assessment report.

St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Gilliam asked that because Jinkerson was a prior and persistent offender he be given 15 years for the manslaughter conviction, life (30 years) for the armed criminal action conviction, and seven years each on the abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence charges. Gilliam also requested that the sentences run consecutively.

Barnhart argued that his client should receive only 10 years each on counts one and two and agreed with the seven years each on the other charges.

Judge Horn said there was a great deal of physical evidence and testimony presented in the trial and that based on that there were some things she believed.

“First, this was a heinous, cold-blooded murder,” said Judge Horn.

“Mr. Jinkerson, I believe that you are every bit responsible for the death of Frank Ancona.”

Judge Horn also said that she believed a “steep” sentence is called for in this matter.

Jinkerson was sentenced to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for involuntary manslaughter, life (30 years) for armed criminal action, and seven years each for tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse. Judge Horn ordered that the sentences run consecutively (one after the other) meaning that Jinkerson could spend the next 59 years incarcerated.

Jinkerson’s mother, Malissa Ancona, pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree, tampering with physical evidence, and abandonment of a corpse on April 19 and received a life sentence. She will be 74 years old before she will be eligible for release.

According to investigators and a forensic pathologist, on Feb. 9, 2017, Frank Ancona was shot once in the head with a 9 mm handgun and then, according to the pathologist, shot by a 12-gauge shotgun.

According to testimony in Jinkerson’s trial, Frank’s body was loaded into the back of Jinkerson’s car and driven to an access on the Big River in Belgrade where it would be discovered on Feb. 11 by a family on an outing. Ancona’s car was driven to a forest service road in Washington County and abandoned.

Initially, Malissa Ancona claimed that her son and another unknown man had been involved and they had shot and killed Frank Ancona while she was gone to a convenience store down the road. She later retracted that statement and said that she was the one who had killed Frank and that Jinkerson had not been involved.

Based on blood evidence, surveillance images from a neighboring house, ATM cameras, and convenience store security footage, investigators were able to determine that Jinkerson and Malissa Ancona were both present at the time of the murder and both involved in removing evidence and abandoning Frank Ancona's body.

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616.

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