Paul W. Kreutzer

Executed April 10, 2002 by Lethal Injection in Missouri


18th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
767th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Missouri in 2002
57th murderer executed in Missouri since 1976


Since 1976
Date of Execution
State
Method
Murderer
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
Birth
Victim(s)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Murder
Method of
Murder
Relationship
to Murderer
Date of
Sentence
767
04-10-02
MO
Lethal Injection
Paul W. Kreutzer

W / M / 20 - 30

02-22-72
Louise Hemphill

W / F / 36

09-02-92
Strangulation
Neighbor
03-94

Summary:
Thirty-six-year-old Louise Hemphill lived with her husband and three children in Pike County near Louisiana, Missouri. Kreutzer lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Hemphill residence with his adoptive parents following his parole from an Illinois prison in May 1992. On the morning of September 2, 1992, Louise Hemphill's husband left for work, and she drove her youngest child to school. When the kids returned from school at 4:00, they discovered their mother's nude body in a bedroom. Mrs. Hemphill suffered multiple injuries. She was stabbed in the neck and struck in the head at least three times with a baseball bat. Although the head injuries would have been fatal, the immediate cause of death was strangulation with a belt looped around her neck. The strangulation probably took from three to four minutes to complete. Duct tape was found on the bed and on the victim's ankle. Kreutzer was arrested later that evening in possession of the victim's purse, bloody gloves, duct tape, and a BB gun. DNA analysis of semen found on the bed cover and on Mrs. Hemphill's face and pubic area established a genetic match with Kreutzer. A diminished capacity defense claiming post-traumatic stress was unsuccessful at trial.

Citations:
Kreutzer v. State, 928 S.W. 2d 584 (Mo. 1996) (Direct Appeal).

Final Meal:
Grilled ham & cheese sandwich, onion rings, cheesecake and milk.

Final Words:
None.

Internet Sources:

Capital Punishment in Missouri from Missouri.Net

Case Facts: Thirty-six-year-old Louise Hemphill lived with her husband and three children in Pike County near Louisiana, Missouri. Kreutzer lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Hemphill residence with his adoptive parents. Kreutzer was paroled from prison in Illinois in May of 1992 and returned to Pike County to live with his family. Later that year, Kreutzer met Louise Hemphill when he went to the Hemphill residence to look at a horse that was for sale. In the last week of August, Kreutzer was arrested and later released in Columbia, Missouri on a charge of indecent exposure.

On the morning of September 2, 1992, Louise Hemphillís husband left for work and the two oldest children left for school. Mrs. Hemphill drove her youngest child to school. Later in the morning, Mrs. Hemphillís brother went to the Hemphillís home. He was the last person to see her alive. Mrs. Hemphill customarily made a list of household tasks for the day, with a time deadline by which she sought to complete each job. When the police later discovered the list, the chore with the time of 10:30 a.m. was crossed out, but the one listed for 11:00 a.m. was not.

The same morning, Kreutzer was observed in a number of locations in the vicinity of the Hemphill residence. He was seen pulling into a drive way adjacent to the school to which Mrs. Hemphill had earlier driven her daughter. Kreuzter visited two area schools and offered to speak to students about the dangers of drug and alcohol. Kreutzer bought a BB gun at a store in Louisiana, Missouri, at 9:41 a.m. He attempted to purchase BBís for the gun but did not have enough money to purchase them.

Around 4:00 p.m., the two Hemphill daughters, Janie and Jessie, arrived home from school. Jessie Hemphill went upstairs and discovered her motherís nude body lying in the floor of her brother Lukeís bedroom, Jessie telephoned her father who returned home, saw the body and called 911.

Following the execution, members of the victim's family spoke to reporters: Craig Hemphill is the main speaker. He is the widower of Louise Ann (Lou Ann) Hemphill. He is joined by Lou Ann's sister, Sherrie Martin, and Lou Ann's brother, Greg Brummell. (2:45) (http://www.missourinet.com/asp/asx.asp?listen=4637).

Prior Criminal Record

Paul Kreutzer was born on February 22, 1972 in Gravette, Arkansas. On April 26, 1991 Kreutzer was convicted of three counts of Burglary and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery in Adams County, Illinois. He was sentenced to three and a half years and three years concurrent sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On September 2, 1992, Kreutzer was arrested for the offense described above in Pike County and tried and convicted of Murder in the First Degree.

Legal Chronology

09/02/92 - Louise Hemphill is murdered by PauL Kreutzer in Pike County, Missouri.
12/18/92 - Trial is moved to Callaway County on a change of venue at the request of the defendant.
03/21/94 - Trial begins in Callaway County.
03/26/94 - Jury enters a verdict of guilty of murder first degree.
03/28/94 - The Jury recommends a sentence of death.
06/06/94 - The court denies a motion for a new trial and sentences Kreutzer to death.
11/29/94 - Kreutzer files a motion in the circuit court for post-conviction relief.
07/17/95 - Kreutzerís motion for post-conviction relief is denied by the circuit court.
08/20/96 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Kreutzerís conviction and sentence, and denial of PCR.
12/05/96 - A petition for certiorari is filed by the defendant.
01/13/97 - The United States Supreme Court denies Kreutzerís petition for writ of certiorari.
01/27/98 - Kreutzer files a petition of writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court.
01/06/99 - The U.S. District Court denies the petition for habeas corpus.
11/15/00 - The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the District Courtís denial of habeas corpus.
11/01/01 - The U.S. Supreme Court denies Kreutzerís petition for writ of certiorari.
03/11/02 - The Missouri Supreme Court sets April 10, 2002 as the execution date for Paul Kreutzer.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Paul Kreutzer - Scheduled Execution Date and Time: 4/10/02 1:01 AM EST.

Paul Kreutzer is scheduled to be executed on April 10 for the 1992 murder of Louise Hemphill. Kreutzer is scheduled to be Missouriís 56th execution since 1976 and their fourth this year alone.

Kreutzer was denied consideration of his habeas petition due to his legal counselís failure to file with the district court on time. For no other reason than taking the advice of his lawyer, Kreutzer will not even have his constitutionally guaranteed right to a hearing before a federal court. Substandard representation such as this is furthermore compounded by the draconian maze of laws regulating death penalty appeals.

Please write to the state of Missouri to protest a reliance on a public defender system that has continually let defendants fall through the cracks.

ProDeathPenalty.Com

Thirty-six-year-old Louise Hemphill lived with her husband and three children in Pike County near Louisiana, Missouri. Paul Kreutzer lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Hemphill residence with his adoptive parents. Kreutzer was paroled from prison in Illinois in May of 1992 and returned to Pike County to live with his family. Later that year, Kreutzer met Louise Hemphill when he went to the Hemphill residence to look at a horse that was for sale. In the last week of August, Kreutzer was arrested and later released in Columbia, Missouri on a charge of indecent exposure. On the morning of September 2, 1992, Louise Hemphillís husband left for work and the two oldest children left for school. Mrs. Hemphill drove her youngest child to school. Later in the morning, Mrs. Hemphillís brother went to the Hemphillís home. He was the last person to see her alive. Mrs. Hemphill customarily made a list of household tasks for the day, with a time deadline by which she sought to complete each job. When the police later discovered the list, the chore with the time of 10:30 a.m. was crossed out, but the one listed for 11:00 a.m. was not. The same morning, Kreutzer was observed in a number of locations in the vicinity of the Hemphill residence. He was seen pulling into a drive way adjacent to the school to which Mrs. Hemphill had earlier driven her daughter. Kreuzter visited two area schools and offered to speak to students about the dangers of drug and alcohol. Kreutzer bought a BB gun at a store in Louisiana, Missouri, at 9:41 a.m. He attempted to purchase BBís for the gun but did not have enough money to purchase them. Around 4:00 p.m., the two Hemphill daughters, Janie and Jessie, arrived home from school. Jessie Hemphill went upstairs and discovered her motherís nude body lying in the floor of her brother Lukeís bedroom, Jessie telephoned her father who returned home, saw the body and called 911. Louise's wallet was found in Kreutzer's car, and bloodstained gloves and clothing were found in the car and in Kreutzer's motel room.

Kreutzer v. State, 928 S.W. 2d 584 (Mo. 1996) (Direct Appeal)

A jury convicted appellant Paul W. Kreutzer of murder in the first degree, section 565.020, RSMo 1986, and returned a sentence of death. The trial court fixed punishment at death. The postconviction court overruled appellant's Rule 29.15 motion. The judgments are affirmed.

Thirty-six-year-old Louise Hemphill lived with her husband and three children in Pike County near Louisiana, Missouri. Appellant lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Hemphill residence with his adoptive parents. Appellant was paroled from prison in Illinois in May of 1992 and returned to Pike County to live with his family. Later that year appellant met Louise Hemphill when he went to the Hemphill residence to look at a horse that was for sale. In the last week of August, appellant was arrested and later released in Columbia, Missouri, on a charge of indecent exposure.

On the morning of September 2, 1992, Louise Hemphill's husband left for work, and the two oldest children left for school. Mrs. Hemphill drove her youngest child to school. Later in the morning, Mrs. Hemphill's brother went to the Hemphills' home. He was the last person to see her alive. Mrs. Hemphill customarily made a list of household tasks for the day, with a time deadline by which she sought to complete each job. When the police later discovered the list, the chore with the time of 10:30 a.m. was crossed out, but the one listed for 11:00 a.m. was not.

The same morning, appellant was observed in a number of locations in the vicinity of the Hemphill residence. He was seen pulling into a driveway adjacent to the school to which Mrs. Hemphill had earlier driven her daughter. Appellant visited two area schools and offered to speak to students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Appellant bought a BB gun at a store in Louisiana, Missouri, at 9:41 a.m. He attempted to purchase BB's for the gun but did not have enough money for the purchase. Around 4:00 p.m., the two Hemphill daughters, Janie and Jessie, arrived home from school. Jessie Hemphill went upstairs and discovered her mother's nude body lying on the floor of her brother Luke's bedroom. Jessie telephoned her father, who returned home, saw the body, and called 911.

According to the psychologist who interviewed appellant, appellant asked for Mr. Hemphill when he went to the Hemphill residence on September 2. Mrs. Hemphill came to the door and told appellant her husband was not at home. When Mrs. Hemphill tried to shut the door, appellant forced his way into the house. Investigating officers observed signs of a sexual assault in the upstairs bedroom occupied by Jessie and Janie Hemphill. Lengths of duct tape were wrapped around the head and foot of one of the beds, and pieces of duct tape remained around Mrs. Hemphill's ankles. Mrs. Hemphill's clothing and a pair of sweatpants were on the floor next to the bed. A hair discovered on the sweatpants was consistent with appellant's pubic hair and inconsistent with the hair of any member of the Hemphill family. Bloodstains on the bed cover and sweatpants matched the blood of the victim and appellant. DNA analysis of semen found on the bed cover and on Mrs. Hemphill's face and pubic area established a genetic match with appellant, with a band pattern that occurs once every 150,000 times in the Caucasian population and once every 500,000 times in the African-American population.

At some point Mrs. Hemphill escaped or appellant released her from her bonds. The door to the master bedroom was found kicked in, with the door lock lying on the bedroom floor. Boot prints on the door were similar in sole pattern to the boots later seized from appellant at the time of his arrest. The Hemphills kept a .22 caliber pistol in a closet in the upstairs hall, with the ammunition normally stored in a bathroom adjoining the master bedroom. After the murder, officers found the weapon unloaded in the master bathroom.

Mrs. Hemphill suffered multiple injuries. Appellant stabbed her in the neck, opening a jugular vein. Bloodstains and duct tape were discovered in the bathroom and master bedroom, apparently tracked in by Mrs. Hemphill as she ran from the bathroom. Appellant struck Mrs. Hemphill in the head at least three times with a baseball bat kept in her son's room. The blows from the bat were so severe that they dislocated a vertebra in Mrs. Hemphill's neck. Brain matter was leaking from the wound. Although the head injuries would have been fatal, the immediate cause of death was strangulation. Appellant looped a belt around Mrs. Hemphill's neck and strangled her. The strangulation probably took from three to four minutes to complete. Mrs. Hemphill may have been conscious for one or two minutes. A bloodstained hunting knife, kept in the Hemphills' kitchen, was found lying on Mrs. Hemphill's body. Her purse was missing from the house.

Police apprehended appellant on the evening of September 2. Officers who searched appellant's car recovered, among other things, the victim's billfold- purse, a pair of gloves with human bloodstains on it, a roll of duct tape, and the BB gun appellant had purchased that morning along with a package of BB's and a receipt for their purchase. A search of the motel room where appellant stayed revealed, among other things, a pair of jeans with human bloodstains and a receipt for the purchase of the BB gun. Police also seized appellant's boots and ninety-seven dollars in cash from appellant's person. Soon after police searched appellant's car, a law enforcement officer placed appellant in custody.

In the guilt phase of the trial, appellant relied on a defense of diminished capacity, claiming that he suffered from a mental disease or defect that prevented him from acting with deliberation. See ß 552.015.2(8), RSMo 1986. In the penalty phase, appellant presented witnesses in mitigation including a woman who, on the night of the murder, was aided by appellant when she was stranded on the road with a flat tire. Appellant also called his former landlord and her daughter, both of whom lived in the same apartment building as appellant for one year. A psychologist testified that appellant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder as a result of past physical and emotional abuse. The jury returned a sentence of death, finding that the evidence established the following statutory aggravating circumstances: that appellant committed the murder while engaged in the perpetration of the felony of burglary, section 565.032.2(11), RSMo 1986; and that appellant committed the offense of murder in the first degree for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value for himself from Louise Hemphill, section 565.032.2(4), RSMo 1986.