Mose Young, Jr.

Executed April 25, 2001 by Lethal Injection in Missouri

25th murderer executed in U.S. in 2001
708th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Missouri in 2001
49th murderer executed in Missouri since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
Mose Young, Jr.

B / M / 27 - 45

Kent Bicknese
W / M / 22
James Scneider
W / M / 33
Sol Marks
W / M / 80

Robbed pawn shop and shot employees after they refused to buy stolen jewelry. Prior convictions for Assault and Heroin.

State v. Young , 701 SW2d 429 (Mo. 1985), cert. denied 476 US 1109 (1986).
Young v. State, 770 SW2d 243 (Mo. 1989).
Young v. Bowersox, 161 F3d 1159 (8th Cir. 1998).

Internet Sources:

Capital Punishment in Missouri from Missouri.Net

On February 8, 1983 Mose Young entered a pawn shop in St. Louis to pawn a gold plated stickpin. Mr. Lee Raseover, the owner of the shop, told Young the pin was worthless and threatened to call the police and have him arrested for stealing by deceit. A heated exchange ensued with both men pushing each other. Mr. Rascover pulled a gun from a holster on his hip and ordered Young to leave. Mr. Pascover then telephoned one of his partners at a different shop and warned him of Young's attempt to pawn the stickpin and the altercation that took place. Young showed up at the second shop and tried to pawn the stickpin for several thousand dollars at which time his offer was refused. Young left the shop after another argument and an attempt to take some jewelry he had asked to examine.

Sometime later Young returned to the second shop carrying a rifle. At the time there were four persons at the shop including an employee Romaell Bennett, Sol Marks, Mr. Raseover's grandfather, James Schneider, a partner of Mr. Rascover's, and Kent Bicknese, a billboard salesman. As Young entered the store with the rifle Mr. Bennett sent Mr. Marks to the rear of the store because he feared there might be trouble. As Young entered the store he pointed the rifle at Mr. Bennett and fired a shot whieh hit and killed Mr. Bicknese who was standing in front of Mr. Bennett. At that moment Mr. Schneider emerged from his office and Young turned, fired a shot and killed him. Mr. Bennett retreated with Mr. Marks to the back of the store. Mr. Marks tripped and Mr. Bennett left him and went to the basement where he hid in the vault. While in the basement Mr. Bennett tripped an alarm. Mr. Bennett testified that he heard Young ask Mr. Marks where Mr. Bennett was. After that Mr. Bennett reported hearing two more gun shots. Mr. Bennett also heard Young yell down the steps, "Where are you?"

Mr. Bennett remained in the vault until he heard police radios. The bodies of Mr. Bicknese and Mr. Schneider were found in the lobby area of the store and the body of Mr. Marks was found in a hallway leading to the rear of the building. The top of the jewelry counter had been smashed and almost all of the jewelry was gone. There was $576.00 in cash missing from the cash registers as well as the victims wallets.

Mose Young was born in St. Louis. Missouri on December 25, 1955. On August 27, 1975 Young was arrested in St. Louis City for Possession of Heroin. He pleaded guilty on February 27, 1976 and was sentenced to one year in the city jail. On June 25, 1981 Young was arrested in St. Louis City for Assault First Degree. He pleaded guilty on April 19, 1982 and was sentenced to six months in the city jail. On February 9, 1983 Young was arrested for three counts of Capital Murder and Robbery First Degree in St. Louis City. On May 19, 1984 a jury found Young guilty of all three counts of Capital Murder. On July 6, 1984 Young was sentenced to death on each count of Capital Murder.

2/8-Mose Young shoots and kills Sol Marks, Kent Bicknese and James Schneider in a pawn shop in St. Louis.
3/18-Mose Young is charged by information with three counts of capital murder.

5/19-Mose Young is found guilty by a St. Louis City Circuit Court jury of three counts of capital murder.
5/21-The jury recommends the death penalty on each count.
7/6-The court denies a motion for a new trial and sentences Young to three death sentences as recommended by the jury.
7/10-Notice of Appeal filed in the Missouri Supreme Court.

12/17-The convictions and sentences are affirmed by the Missouri Supreme Court,

1/15-Motion for a rehearing is denied.
5/5-Certiorari denied by the United States Supreme Court.
7/30-Young files a motion for post-conviction relief.

12/11-The motion for post-conviction relief is denied.

1/5-Notice of appeal of court's ruling to deny post-conviction relief is filed.

5/16-The denial of the motion for post-conviction relief is denied.

10/30-A petition for habeas corpus is filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

4/3-Young files an amended petition for habeas corpus.
5/4-A response to the amended petition is filed.

5/9-A petition for Mandamus is filed seeking to compel a ruling on the petition for habeas corpus.
6/24-The U.S. District Court denies the petitionfor habeas corpus.
10/2-Young files a Notice of Appeal
12/4-The U.S. District Court affirms the conviction and sentence.

1/29-Rehearing by the panel and rehearing en banc denied.
6/28-Certiorari petition filed.
10/4-The United States Supreme Court denies the petition for certiorari. An execution date is requested of the Missouri State Supreme Court.

6/9-The Missouri State Supreme Court sets July 12, 2000 as the date of execution for Mose Young.
7/12-The U. S. Supreme Court grants stay of execution.

3/27-The Missouri Supreme Court sets April 25, 2001 as the date of execution for Mose Young.

The Lamp of Hope (Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

May 25 - MISSOURI - Mose Young, who gunned down 3 people in a pawn shop that wouldn't make a deal, was executed by injection early today at Potosi Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 12:14 a.m. Young lost his final bid for mercy Tuesday night when Gov. Bob Holden rejected his request for clemency and a commutation of the sentence to life in prison. A federal appeals court had rejected Mose's final legal appeal on Monday, leaving the clemency request his last hope. Shortly before Holden announced his decision, Young said by telephone from the prison, "It's getting kind of shaky, but I understand what I'm facing." Young's bid for clemency restated what he had pleaded in a lengthy series of court appeals -- that his original defense lawyer did a miserable job.

On Feb. 8, 1983, Young walked into a former location of Lee's Pawn Shop, at 5934 Natural Bridge Avenue, with a rifle after employees at both Lee's shops refused to lend him $1,800 for a stickpin. He murdered Kent Bicknese, 22, of west St. Louis County, who was on a sales call for his brother's billboard company; James Schneider, 33, of Edwardsville, a co-owner of the shop; and Sol Marks, 80, of Creve Coeur, a part-time employee. Ronnell "Rock" Bennett, another co-owner, escaped to the basement. Bennett, now deceased, had known Young at Vashon High School and identified him.

Young testified during his trial in 1984 and insisted that a man nicknamed "Mickey" had fired the shots. Evelyn Bicknese, 66, of West County, the mother of Kent Bicknese, and three other relatives witnessed the execution. Young spent part of Tuesday with two Roman Catholic nuns and had a last meal. The nuns also attended the execution. Young glanced their way, said something to them and smiled before he died.

Young was within 7 hours of execution on July 11 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the countdown. The court ordered a hearing on the claim that Jane Geiler, a former assistant prosecutor in St. Louis, had been prevented by then-Circuit Attorney Dee Joyce-Hayes from reporting her memory of Young's trial in the clemency appeal. A follow-up hearing went against Young. In 1984, Geiler was a supervisor to public defender John M. "Jack" Walsh, who represented Young. Walsh was disbarred in 1988 for his handling of another death penalty trial.

Young becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death in Missouri this year and the 49th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989. Missouri trails only Texas (245), Virginia (82), and Florida (51) in the number of executions carried out since 1977. Young becomes the 25th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 708th overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.


At 9 a.m. on February 8, 1983, Lee Rascover opened his pawn shop in St. Louis, and admitted Mose Young who had been waiting in front of the store. Young attempted to pawn a gold-plated stickpin and wanted $1800 for it so he could buy his girlfriend a used Cadillac. Lee told Young that it was worthless and threatened to have Young arrested for attempting to steal by deceit. A heated exchange ensued during which Young attempted to push Lee. Lee pushed Young back and drew his gun from a hip holster and ordered Young to leave, which he did. Lee telephoned his other pawn shop and warned Ronnell Bennett, one of his partners, that Young was bringing the pin there. Young did go to the second pawn shop and attempted to get several thousand dollars for it. Having been forewarned, Ronnell would not take the pin. Young then engaged in an argument with James Schneider, another partner in the pawn shop. Eventually they all agreed that Young might have luck pawning a gun or rifle. Young left after attempting to steal some jewelry which he had asked to examine. Sometime later, Young returned to the second pawn shop carrying a rifle. At the time four people were present. Ronnell, Sol Marks, who was Lee’s grandfather, Kent Bicknese, who was taking the semester off from his aerospace engineering studies at the University of Missouri-Rolla to work for his brother's billboard company, and James Schneider. Ronnell saw Young as he entered the store, apparently sensed danger and sent the 80-year-old Marks to the back of the store. About this time, Young raised the rifle and fired in the direction of Bennett. The shot killed Kent, who was standing directly in front of Ronnell. At that moment, James emerged from the office and Young turned and killed him. Ronnell retreated with Sol Marks to the back of the store. When Sol hesitated and fell from Ronnell’s arms, Ronnell left him and escaped to the basement where he hid in the vault. While in the basement, Ronnell tripped an alarm. Ronnell remained in the vault until he heard police radios sometime later. The police found three bodies, Bicknese, Schneider and Marks. Young was convicted on three counts of capital murder by a jury and was sentenced to death. "Mose Young is a brutal triple murderer who committed three heinous crimes and is an example of why juries in Missouri need to have the option of the death penalty," Attorney General Jay Nixon said.

Canadian Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty - Young Homepage


Mose Young has claimed from day one that a man named “Mickey”, not he, walked into Lee’s Pawn Shop on February 8, 1983 and opened fire, randomly killing three people.


We are asking Governor Bob Holden to stay the execution of Mose Young and to appoint a Board of Inquiry to look into the differences effective assistance of legal counsel would have made in the Young case. We also ask this Board of inquiry to investigate violations of the Batson rule, excluding black jurors without cause, now substantiated in the testimony of Ms. Jane Geiler of the Circuit Court Attorney's office of St. Louis where Mr. Young was tried.

Mose Young Application for Executive Clemency


COMES NOW the applicant, Mose Young, Jr., by and through his attorneys, Joseph Margulies, Sean D. O’Brien, and John William Simon, and petitions the Governor for his order staying the execution presently scheduled for April 25, 2001, and appointing a Board of Inquiry, pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.070; and for his Order commuting the sentence of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis from death to life without parole.

Mose Young was sentenced to death in a trial in which the prosecutor used every one of his peremptory challenges to exclude African-Americans from the jury. Mose’s trial lawyer was an alcoholic who made no pretense of being prepared; in the next case he tried, he sat silent through the entire proceeding to protest the court’s denial of his motion for a continuance. He was disbarred, but his other client’s sentence was overturned.

Mose has been a good father to his two sons, one of whom is retarded. He has been a mediator between African-American and white prisoners, and has prevented more deaths than he was convicted of causing. He is worth more to the State of Missouri alive than dead.

Regardless of the broad philosophical issues involving the death penalty, this is one case in which a consistent death-penalty supporter can say that life without parole is enough punishment under the circumstances—that the norms underlying the continued practice of capital punishment do not support carrying out this execution, and that the interests of society weigh in favor of letting this man continue to help raise his sons and to help his fellow-prisoners get along with each other and with the staff.

More . . .

Jefferson City News-Tribune

Wednesday, July 12, 2000 - Supreme Court upholds Young's stay of execution - POTOSI, Mo. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted a stay of execution for convicted killer Mose Young just hours before he was scheduled to die by injection. The U.S. Supreme Court refused the state's request to vacate the stay early Wednesday morning, postponing the execution indefinitely.

Young, on death row since 1984, had been scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing three men inside a St. Louis pawn shop 17 years ago. After waking up alive Wednesday, Young told The Associated Press from the Potosi Correctional Center, "It's a beautiful morning." "I didn't shed no tears. I didn't cry because I know it's never over with." he said. "That was God's will to have this one day, and it's going to be God's will to have whatever more days are remaining in my life." The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled about six hours before the scheduled execution that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Dee Joyce-Hayes violated Young's right to due process by interfering with a witness. The court ordered U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton of St. Louis to reconsider Young's appeal. Hamilton had rejected it Monday. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon's office said Nixon would appeal the stay so the state could move forward with the execution as early as Thursday morning. Young's attorney, Joseph Margulies, argued that the witness, an attorney now working for Joyce-Hayes named Jane Geiler, wanted to offer information that could help Young receive clemency from Gov. Mel Carnahan. They alleged that Joyce-Hayes threatened to fire Geiler if she did so. "The Constitution of the United States does not require that a state have a clemency procedure, but, in our view, it does require that, if such a procedure is created, the state's own officials refrain from frustrating it by threatening the job of a witness," the court ruling said. "Indeed, there is reason to think that what the circuit attorney did here amounts to the crime of tampering with a witness," the appeals panel wrote. "Such conduct on the part of a state official is fundamentally unfair." Joyce-Hayes has denied threatening to fire Geiler. "I never threatened to fire her, and some of the things Mr. Margulies alleges she and I discussed were in fact never discussed by us," Joyce-Hayes said Tuesday night. "It was never my intention to interfere with Mose Young's due process of law."

The state immediately appealed, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to set aside the ruling. The court had made no ruling by late Tuesday. A spokesman for Carnahan said the governor would not decide on clemency until after all appeals were exhausted. Margulies claimed that in Young's 1984 trial the jury was racially stacked against him and his lawyer was ill-prepared. "My reaction was relief," Margulies said in a telephone interview Wednesday from Minneapolis. "We are pleased and relieved the court saw the case the way we saw it." Margulies said prosecutors moved to strike nine prospective jurors only because they were black. Eventually, the jury consisted of eight whites and four blacks. Young is black; all three victims were white.

Young told the AP in an interview Tuesday that he first met his attorney, Jack Walsh, four days before the trial began. Walsh warned the court that he hadn't had time to prepare. Margulies also claimed that Geiler, an associate of Walsh's at the time of the 1984 trial, would have been willing to describe how poorly Young was represented if not for the threat from Joyce-Hayes. Young spent Tuesday visiting with two nuns and talking on the phone with lawyers and well-wishers, hoping and praying the courts or Carnahan would halt the execution. "I believe in God -- I'm holding up strong," Young said. "I ain't bitter." The nuns were from a convent in Savannah, Mo. Young said they began corresponding with him about five years ago. Young, on death row longer than all but three of the 80 inmates awaiting execution at Potosi, maintained "from day one" that a man named "Mickey," and not he, walked into Lee's Pawn Shop on Feb. 8, 1983, and began firing. Killed were James Schneider, 33, a co-owner of the shop; Sol Marks, 80, who worked there part-time and was the grandfather of another partner; and Kent Bicknese, 22, a billboard salesman who had stopped by to lease space outside the store for a sign.

Authorities said the evidence was overwhelming against Young, a convicted drug felon who was suspected of several unsolved murders in a rough area of north St. Louis. "Mose Young is a brutal triple murderer who committed three heinous crimes and is an example of why juries in Missouri need to have the option of the death penalty," Attorney General Jay Nixon said.

Young said that he had argued with the pawn shop proprietors over a gold-plated stickpin he had tried to pawn. Young wanted $1,800 for the pin, and planned to spend the money to buy his girlfriend a used Cadillac. The pawn shop owners thought it was worthless. Young left, then returned with a rifle, according to Ronnell Bennett, also a partner in the pawn shop. Bennett said he was the intended target, but the bullet struck Bicknese, who was taking the semester off from his aerospace engineering studies at the University of Missouri-Rolla to work for his brother's billboard company. Bennett escaped to a basement and hid in a vault until police arrived. Police and Bennett found the three men shot to death.