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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Five indicted for Willhite murder case

  • Grand Jury indicts four individuals for murder
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  • Four individuals have been indicted for murder in the death of an 82-year-old Pulaski County man who was beaten during a robbery in July, according to Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman.
    Robert Willhite, a Korean War veteran and longtime Pulaski County resident, was severely beaten and robbed by multiple individuals in his Swedeborg area home on July 25. Deputies found him the next morning bound by duct tape, covered in blood, severely bruised, with his eyes swollen shut.
    As of Wednesday, five individuals were indicted by the Pulaski County Grand Jury in relation to the robbery and beating that resulted in Willhite’s death.
    Shawn Green, 33, of Waynesville, has been charged with murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, felonious restraint, three counts of stealing, and receiving stolen property.
    Thomas York, 35, of Dixon, has been charged with murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, felonious restraint, three counts of stealing, and receiving stolen property.
    Both Green and York have been charged as prior and persistent offenders.
    Roby Sapere, 57, of Richland, faces charges of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, felonious restraint, three counts of stealing, and receiving stolen property.
    Earl Crossland, 35, of Waynesville, faces charges of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, felonious restraint, three counts of stealing, and receiving stolen property.
    Jessica Berry of Dixon, faces two counts of receiving stolen property.
    Vernon Dale Parker Jr., 43, of Fulton, was not indicted for this case. Parker was charged on Aug. 6 with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, two counts of stealing a firearm, theft and felonious restraint. Parker was a wanted fugitive for multiple burglaries and robberies throughout the region.
    Hillman said that investigators now do not believe that Parker was involved in the burglary and beating of Willhite.
    “Originally, it was believed that Vernon Parker was involved,” Hillman said. “With the information we have now, we do not believe he was present during the burglary and murder.”
    Further investigation also revealed that Berry did not act as a lookout, despite original allegations, according to Hillman.
    “With the information we have now, we do not believe she was present or assisted during the burglary and murder,” he said. “It appears she received some stolen property after the fact and that is why she is charged with receiving stolen property.”
    Hillman said that Berry's parents were cooperative throughout the investigation and provided authorities with information that led to the arrest of multiple individuals of this case.
    Page 2 of 2 - Court documents state Berry's mother told police her daughter was in possession of the coins stolen from Willhite's home, which led to Berry's arrest.
    “No plea agreements have been made in this case at this time,” Hillman said.
    Originally, Melissa Winkle was charged with receiving stolen property in relation to this case, but Hillman said that information has led investigators to believe the stolen property Winkle received is not affiliated with the Willhite case.

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