Officials continue probe into shooting death

Officials continue probe

into shooting death

Ray Scherer

Local law enforcement and prosecutors remain at work on the investigation into the shooting death of a man in Hermann early last week.

Authorities have charged 52-year-old Christine E. Weber, 902 Goethe St., with the Class A felony of first-degree murder and felony armed criminal action. According to charges filed by Gasconade County Prosecuting Attorney Mary Weston, Weber allegedly shot a male -- so far only identified by the initials "A.F." -- on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the address.

On Friday, Hermann Police Chief Marlon Walker told the Advertiser-Courier he had spoken with Gasconade County Prosecutor Mary Weston about the case. Walker said the investigation is still considered open, yet adding the victim's name was not being released at the time. An autopsy has been performed, although Walker he did not have the results and that the report would become part of the investigation.

Weber made her first court appearance, an initial arraignment, on Friday morning before Associate Circuit Judge Ada Brehe-Krueger. She was advised of the charges against her. Weber sat alone on a bench in the first-floor courtroom at the Gasconade County Courthouse, garbed in an orange jumpsuit. She answered "yes" when prompted by the judge on whether she comprehends the case.

Brehe-Krueger said the first-degree murder count carries a potential range of punishment of 10 to 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. There is a potential penalty of up to three years' imprisonment on the armed criminal action count.

One of the first tasks in the case for Weber will be her legal representation. She had no attorney with her for the arraignment, and will be attempting to secure a public defender. The judge provided a application for her to submit in seeking a public defender.

On another matter, Weber asked Brehe-Krueger how she could make contact with family members while her case is pending before the court. The judge advised her to work with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department in working out arrangements to communicate with her loved ones. She is currently in custody at the county jail in Steelville.

The case was continued to 9 a.m., Monday, Jan. 4, at the courthouse, for attorney status.

"I don't know what my bond was," Weber told the judge. Bond in the matter has been set at $350,000, cash or surety.

The probable cause statement filed in the case names Officer Justin Lintermoot as responding to 902 Goethe at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 15. The statement said Lintermoot responded to the address in reference to shots fired.

He said he and Walker both went to the home, where they located a wounded man who appeared to have been shot.

"I located a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun in plain view on a kitchen counter down the hall from the victim," Lintermoot said in the probable cause. "In addition to the handgun, I located one 9mm shell casing on the kitchen floor near the firearm, indicating a firearm had been discharged.

The victim -- again only identified by authorities to date as "A.F." -- told Chief Walker he had been shot by Ms. Weber. The victim was taken to Hermann Area District Hospital, where he later died.

The statement added that on two previous occasions on Tuesday, Dec. 15, officers had responded to 902 Goethe on reports of arguments between Ms. Weber and A.F. During one of the incidents, Ms. Weber said she had a gun and would shoot A.F. "if he came at her."

The probable cause asked prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Ms. Weber, "due to her disregard for the laws of Missouri." The statement further said Ms. Weber has a past history of being homeless, and the she would be a potential flight risk. She has no prior criminal history, but has had some involvement in civil matters, according to court records.

On Thursday, Chief Walker told the Advertiser-Courier murder cases are very rare in Hermann. The last one occurred in July 2015, not long after Walker became chief, when Karen Brinkley was accused of second-degree murder in the death of her roommate, Marion Gerloff. That death was Hermann's first murder in more than a decade.