A jury last week found a Phelps County man guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Tracy Louise Weber, in February 2010.
On Friday, jurors at the Pulaski County Courthouse, where the trial was moved to under a change of venue request, found Brent Curtis Schwertz, of Rolla, guilty of both counts. First-degree murder is a class A felony, and armed criminal action is an unclassified felony.
A sentence hearing for Schwertz is scheduled for June 10. Missouri state statute outlines the penalty for first-degree murder, a capital offense, as death or imprisonment for life without eligibility for probation or parole.
The four-day trial began Tuesday, April 16, and was presided over by Judge William E. Hickle.
The state, represented by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, brought forth the charges against Schwertz, who was represented by attorney Danny L. Birdsong, of Rolla, during the trial.
Schwertz was previously charged with second-degree murder, but that was amended to first-degree murder in 2010. A first-degree murder charge implies that a degree of planning existed.
Schwertz was arrested Feb. 11, 2010, shortly after Weber, 40, was shot in the chest at their home, located two miles south of Rolla at in the 14000 block of County Road 5010.
Weber was a well-known hairstylist who worked at Studio K Hair Salon and Fashion Boutique in St. James. She died that night en route to a Springfield hospital as she was being air-evacuated from the scene.
According to court documents filed shortly after the incident, Schwertz admitted to shooting Weber while she was on the phone with one of her adult children, who heard her scream followed by a loud noise believed to be a gunshot. Court documents also stated that a Phelps County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the home to find Schwertz holding a silver pistol.