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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Murder verdict returned

Sunday, June 10, 2007

CHARLESTON -- A Charleston man was found guilty following a day-long trial for a May 2004 murder at a Charleston residence.

After an hour and 15 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Antoine Atchison, 23, of Charleston guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the shooting death of Chance Kitchen, 25, of Charleston on May 9, 2004.

The trial, which concluded at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, was held at Mississippi County Courthouse in Charleston before Associate Circuit Judge W.H. Winchester III.

Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney Darren Cann said Kitchen's murder was related to the murder of 20-year-old Jemorrio Betts, who was shot and killed at Mr. C's Night Club near Morley only hours before Kitchen.

"What was proven Thursday was that Antoine and Jemorrio Betts were pretty good friends. When Antoine found out Jemorrio was killed, he was upset over it," Cann said.

Cann noted Kitchen was dating Atchison's sister, and around 3:30 a.m. May 9 Atchison and his mother got in a car and stopped by his sister's house in Charleston.

"They pulled up and his mom gets out and goes to the front door. When Chance opened the door, Antoine got out of the car, ran up to the front door and shot him (Kitchen) four times," Cann said.

Atchison's motive was that he had heard Kitchen may have been at Mr. C's in Scott County when Betts was killed, Cann said.

Cann commended Capt. Anthony Moody and officer Lance Adams of Charleston Department of Public Safety; Sikeston detectives Flint Dees and Bobby Sullivan of the Major Case Squad; Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeants Scott Rawson, Jeff Heath, Phil Gregory and Bud Cooper; and Dr. Michael D. Zaricor, a pathologist at the Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington, for their work during the investigation.

"All I can do is put forth the evidence the law enforcement brings to me, and they do a good job in their investigation," Cann said.

By statute, Atchison will be sentenced to life in prison without parole and probably get three years on armed criminal action, Cann predicted.

Atchison is being at held at the Mississippi County Detention Center with formal sentencing set for June 29.

In January, Brandon Johnson, 26, was convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in a two-day jury trial for the shooting death of Betts. Johnson was sentenced in March to life in prison.

"All of this happened on Mother's Day in 2004," Cann said. "And actually there are four mothers who lost their sons -- the two victims and the two shooters."