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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • First murder charges filed in Swedeborg robbery case

  • A Waynesville man has been charged with murder for his alleged role in the beating and robbery of a 82-year-old Pulaski County man who died earlier this month from injuries sustained in the incident.
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  • A Waynesville man has been charged with murder for his alleged role in the beating and robbery of a 82-year-old Pulaski County man who died earlier this month from injuries sustained in the incident.
    Earl Crossland, 35, was the first person to be charged with murder for the incident that led to Robert Willhite's death.
    Willhite was alone in his Swedeborg area home on July 25 and bound to his wheelchair when multiple individuals burglarized his home and severely beat him. He died three weeks later.
    According to court documents, Crossland told police that he drove Shawn A. Green and Thomas York to an area near Willhite's home in the early morning hours of July 25. Crossland stated Green and York were both wearing dark clothes. Crossland stated that he went home after dropping the two men off.
    Two hours later, Green and York arrived at Crossland's residence on Highway W in Willhite's minivan, according to the probable cause statement. Crossland told police he saw Green and York remove several items from the van.
    Crossland told police he was angry at Green, who apologized to him for "getting him into this mess."
    Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long reported several collectible coins valued at approximately $5,000, along with two AR-15 rifles valued at $3,000, had been stolen from the victim's home.
    Deputies found Willhite the following morning in his home lying on the floor, with his hands and feet bound by duct tape. He was partially clothed and his eyes were swollen shut from the beatings.
    On Tuesday, Crossland was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, two counts of stealing a firearm, stealing, felonious restraint, and receiving stolen property. He is being held in the Pulaski County Jail on $1 million bail.
    Crossland was the seventh person to be charged in connection with the incident.
    Vernon Dale Parker Jr., 43, of Fulton, and Shawn A. Green, 33, of Waynesville, were each charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, two counts of stealing a firearm, stealing and felonious restraint.
    Thomas York, 35, of Dixon, is facing seven charges including first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, felonious restraint, two counts of theft/stealing of a firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.
    Roby Sapere, 57, of Richland, has been charged with burglary and first-degree assault causing serious physical injury.
    Jessica Berry, 24, of Dixon, was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.
    Melissa Winkle, 34, of Crocker, was charged last week with possessing burglary tools and receiving stolen property.

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