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Murder charges have been filed in the death of Samuel Francis, his body found in a septic tank in rural St. Francois County in July.

Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin filed charges against Melvin J. Scherrer, 49, of rural Bonne Terre, for first-degree murder, armed criminal action, felonious restraint, abandonment of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence.

He is being held in federal custody on no bond.

The charge alleges Scherrer struck and smothered Sam Francis on or about Dec. 18. The death penalty could be sought in this case but Mahurin has not made a determination.

Multiple state, federal and local agencies were involved in the missing person investigation.

According to the probable cause statement, on Dec. 15, Sam Francis contacted his father, Gary, and told him Scherrer wanted to meet with Sam. Gary told police that his son was scared and told him if he ended up dead, Scherrer was responsible.

Witnesses and electronic information placed Sam Francis at Scherrer’s residence on Dec. 18 — the last day Sam Francis’ wife reported communicating with him.

On Jan. 14, Scherrer was interviewed by authorities and claimed he did not know Sam Francis but had met him one time about seven years ago. He said Francis had never been in his house.

Two weeks later authorities searched Scherrer’s home, which is located in the Cedar Lake development. The result of the search revealed blood evidence. Lab analysis showed it contained the DNA of Sam Francis.

During the investigation witnesses identified Scherrer as being responsible for the death of Sam Francis. They said Scherrer struck Francis with a baseball bat, taped his hands behind his back and wrapped his head with tape.

It was reported Scherrer removed Francis from his residence while Francis was still alive.

The report goes on to state that Francis’ body was found July 25 in a septic tank outside Bonne Terre. The property was not owned by Scherrer.

Mahurin said the investigation is still ongoing and he anticipates additional charges will be filed as early as next week.

Mahurin said his condolences go to the Francis family.

He said they have a suspect they feel confident about charging, and due to the seriousness of the charges and Scherrer’s criminal history, he requested that no bond be set.

Scherrer has charges pending for receiving stolen property and tampering, counts stemming from incidents in January. His priors include two counts of second-degree assault in St. Louis County and possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana in Jefferson County.

Another man, Dustin Eyerly, 29, of French Village, has been charged with being in possession of Sam Francis’ missing tattoo equipment. He was charged in February with tampering with physical evidence, receiving stolen property, possession of heroin and tampering with an ATV and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the probable cause statement, investigators discovered that Eyerly was in possession of tattoo equipment that belonged to Francis.

The probable cause statement alleges Eyerly tampered with the equipment after being told the patrol was applying for a search warrant.

The patrol served the search warrant  at his home on Whittaker Road on Jan. 29. They found the tattoo equipment, a syringe containing blood and heroin, and a stolen Yamaha ATV.

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