The jury trial for a stepson accused in the 2017 slaying of local KKK leader Frank Ancona entered into its second day of a two-day trial on Tuesday at the St. Francois County Courthouse in Farmington.
Paul Jinkerson Jr., 26, of Belgrade, was charged with murder in the first degree, armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse, and tampering with evidence in a felony prosecution.
Jurors began deliberating just before 10 p.m. and came back at 1 a.m. with guilty verdicts for involuntary manslaughter, armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. Sentencing will be held July 19 before Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn.
The majority of the day Tuesday was spent listening to testimony from Det. Sgt. Matt Wampler of the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department who was the chief investigator in the murder of Frank Ancona.
Wampler talked about his multiple interviews with Malissa Ancona, the first of which occurred in her Leadwood residence.
St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Gilliam played an audio recording of the Feb. 11, 2017 interview. Malissa Ancona had a friend who was present during the interview whom Malissa Ancona said had told her she could trust Wampler and talk to him.
During this recording, she said she and Frank Ancona arrived home at 3 a.m. on Feb. 9 and went to bed. She said her son Paul Jinkerson was there sleeping as he was passed out from medications he had taken. She claimed that she took Jinkerson’s car to the BP station in Leadwood at just after 3 a.m. and that she was gone for about 30 minutes.
Malissa Ancona claimed in this interview that when she returned home there was another man present that she did not know. She claimed that the man and Jinkerson had already killed her husband. She reported that she then hid in the bathroom until the two men had left with his body. She also claimed that it was her son who had taken all of the bloody clothing, the body, and Frank Ancona's car and disposed of the evidence.
Wampler said that following the interview, the residence was searched. Two pieces of bed matting were found outside the home along with tire tracks in the back of the house. In addition, blood evidence was found on the sidewalk in front of the house.
Wampler testified that the master bedroom was an apparent crime scene. He continued to say there was a large blood stain on the bed and blood droplets on the ceiling. He said Frank Ancona's contact lens and other blood was found on the wall.
He said bedding on the bed during the search was new, but the blood had soaked back through the mattress and stained the new bedding. A mop was also seized as evidence that had apparent blood and had obviously been used to clean the crime scene.
In a second interview with Wampler which jurors also heard, Malissa Ancona still maintained that Frank Ancona had been at work and arrived home at 3 a.m. on Feb. 9, 2017. She said when he came home, her son was passed out on the couch. She still maintained that she went to the Leadwood BP to get food and that when she returned she discovered that Jinkerson and the other man had killed her husband.
In a third interview on Feb. 12, following all of the evidence collection, Wampler again interviewed Malissa Ancona. Wampler brought up inconsistencies with her prior interviews between her statements and the video evidence that had been collected.
During this interview, Malissa Ancona portrayed Frank Ancona to have become possessive in recent times and told Wampler that Frank Ancona had become physically abusive. She stated that she was worried he would divorce her and that she would have nothing and nowhere to go.
Jurors heard her tell Wampler that she had known her son was going to kill Frank Ancona and that he had acted alone in killing his stepfather. She described how they both went to dispose of the body, the guns, his car, and other evidence.
On Feb. 27, 2017, Wampler conducted an interview with Jinkerson in which he claimed he had passed out on the couch and woke up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. and went to McDonalds for breakfast. Jinkerson said that he then went home to his residence in Belgrade. Video evidence from McDonalds showed Jinkerson was never there on Feb. 9.
Jinkerson told Wampler that afterward he went back to the Ancona residence and his mother asked him to dispose of four bags of trash which he placed in his vehicle, claiming that this was the source of the blood in his backseat.
Wampler also testified to evidence of text messages between Malissa Ancona and Paul Jinkerson. Malissa Ancona sent a message to her son saying “Ok, but should we say he was attacking me and that’s why you did it” and then later another saying “Or that I went for ice cream and a snack and when I came back…”
He responded saying “No, we can’t change the story now.”
Several messages were exchanged between the two stating their hope that the other could be trusted.
Malissa Ancona and Jinkerson both testified Tuesday for the defense.
During the testimony of Malissa Ancona, Jinkerson's attorney Eric Barnhart focused on Frank Ancona being abusive toward her.
Gilliam cross-examined her and focused on the number of lies that Malissa Ancona told in her various interviews. She asked Malissa Ancona how she could expect this jury to believe her.
The defense rested following the testimony of Paul Jinkerson. Jinkerson maintained that he did not aid or participate in the shooting of Frank Ancona but had only assisted in helping his mom clean everything up, dispose of his body in Belgrade in the Big River, and dispose of his car at the Tiff cuts in Washington County.
Gilliam then recalled Wampler and questioned him about an interview he conducted with Malissa Ancona. During this interview, Wampler went through the basics of firing the guns used in this murder and Wampler concluded that Malissa Ancona clearly had no knowledge of how to fire the shotgun used to shoot Frank Ancona.
Malissa Ancona recently pleaded guilty to the murder of Frank Ancona and is serving a life sentence.