BENTON -- A Matthews man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for the 2006 shooting death of a Sikeston man.
Vincent Keith Minner was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Michael Terry whose death was ultimately caused by Minner shooting him on Nov. 5, 2006. Minner appeared before Judge Frank Conley in Boone County where he had previously been granted a change of venue.
Minner will have to spend the rest of his natural born life in prison unless the Missouri Department of Corrections would elect to discharge him for medical reasons at age 72.
The state's case was tried by Scott County Prosecutor Paul R. Boyd and Assistant Attorney General Robert Ahsens.
"Minner's conviction takes a hardened criminal off the streets in Southeast Missouri," Boyd said. "Though Minner had only one prior felony conviction, he had proven what type of person he really was when he invaded the Terrys' apartment and shot and stabbed them resulting in injury to Jennifer Terry and the death of Michael Terry."
Minner was also sentenced to 10 years for the first degree assault of Jennifer Terry concurrent with a 10-year sentence for burglary in the first degree charge for breaking into the Terrys' apartment in Sikeston to attack the Terrys. He also received a 10-year sentence for the armed criminal action charge for shooting Michael Terry with a handgun.
At trial on July 30, Minner took the stand and attempted to convince the jury that he was a bystander and witness to the attack of the Terrys by an unknown assailant who forced his way into the house, Boyd recalled. This version conflicted with his own statement to an officer when he was in the hospital recovering from his own wounds. There, Minner told the officer that he could not believe that Michael Terry did all of this over $600 of dope he owed Minner.
The jury found Minner not guilty of an assault in the first degree charge for attempting to shoot Jennifer Terry, an armed criminal action charge associated with the attempted assault and tampering with a witness, Jennifer Terry, by assaulting her so she would not be available as a witness in pending drug cases of some of Minner's associates.
"The hard work of the Southeast Missouri Major Case Squad, the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, the Missouri Highway Patrol lab, and the fortitude of Jennifer Terry to stand her ground as a witness made this conviction possible," Boyd said.
He continued: "The state's evidence was such that it dispelled the defendant's attempt to offer a different story at trial as to what happened at 819 Davis Blvd. and caused the jury to dismiss the testimony of two expert witnesses who were called by the defendant to offer an incredible explanation as to Michael Terry's cause of death not being related to suffering three gunshot wounds by Minner with the use of a .45 caliber handgun."
Boyd said the state initially sought the death penalty for the murder of Michael Terry, but the death penalty was waived prior to the punishment stage of the jury trial, leaving the sentencing up to the judge because Minner was a prior felony drug offender.