CHARLESTON -- A Bertrand man was sentenced to 12 and 1/2 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the shooting death of his nephew.
Fred R. Drury, 56, of Bertrand pled guilty to the class B felony charge of voluntary manslaughter Thursday during an appearance before Associate Circuit Court Judge David C. Mann. Curt Poore, who represented Drury, requested a change of judge to expedite the case.
The charges are related to the Sept. 19, 2004, shooting death of Bobby Burke.
On or around this date Drury was out with Burke at a local bar, according to Darren Cann, prosecuting attorney for Mississippi County.
"They were having drinks, playing pool," said the prosecutor.
Later in the evening, they went to Drury's house.
"When they were at Fred's house, an argument broke out," Cann said. The dispute quieted down for a brief period but flared back up resulting in Burke being shot with an SKS assault rifle.
"According to the pathologist, he was shot between three and five times," Cann said.
A suspicious fire that burned down Drury's house following the incident was also thought by some to be involved.
"To my knowledge, I know that there was a fire that I believe was found be arson," Cann recalled, "but there have never been any viable suspects."
Drury originally faced charges of first degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon.
During Thursday's appearance, the additional charges were dropped as part of the plea bargain, according to Cann.
"Some of things that some of the witnesses said sort of weakened the case for murder. I also spoke with the family - Bobby's wife, Denise Burke, and his mother, Sandy Reynolds - and explained to them all the possibilities," Cann said. "We came to the conclusion that it would be best to accept the plea, Curt's offer of 12 and 1/2 years. ... It was a sure thing; he would go to prison."
Drury will receive credit for time served.