• Evan M. Howard

In The News: Mistrial For Man Who Killed Homeless Man


September 12 2012, Willie C. Robertson fired two shots at a homeless man, Archie Lee “Rabbit” McElroy. One of the two shots struck Archie in the chest, killing him. Hours after shooting Archie, Robertson called the police and confessed on a 911 tape that he killed Archie. Robertson was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Five years after the shooting, Robertson had his day in court where a jury couldn’t make a determination as to Robertson’s guilt. St. Louis Circuit Judge James Sullivan declared a mistrial.

What happened?

Robertson was a security guard at Centenary United Methodist Church. The Church serves the homeless in the downtown St. Louis area. Robertson and Archie had a confrontation a week prior to the shooting. Robertson kicked Archie out of the Church for being drunk and belligerent. Apparently, during this confrontation, Archie had threatened to kill Robertson.

The day of the shooting, Archie apparently went to Robertson’s apartment where the two got into another confrontation. This time, Archie slapped Robertson. Hours after this second confrontation, Robertson went looking for Archie because Robertson felt Archie was “stalking him.”

According to Robertson, after finding Archie, the two got into a third confrontation when Archie reached into a bag and stated, “I got something for you.” Robertson, thinking Archie was reaching for a gun, pulled his gun and shot, killing, Archie.

Robertson was arrested and pled not guilty to murder in the first-degree and armed criminal action, claiming the shooting was in self-defense. He spent two years in a state mental hospital before he was deemed competent to stand trial. In trial, the jury couldn’t determine if Robertson’s actions were in self-defense or not; thus rendering a mistrial.

There has been no word from the State if they intend to re-try the case or not.

First Degree Murder

In Missouri, a person commits the offense of murder in the first degree if he or she knowingly causes the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter. Murder in the first degree is a Class A Felony. If, at the time of the offense, the offender is 18 years of age or older, the crime is punishable by either death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Armed Criminal Action

In Missouri, any person who commits any felony under the laws of this state by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon is also guilty of the crime of armed criminal action and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment by the department of corrections and human resources for a term of not less than three years. The punishment imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be in addition to any punishment provided by law for the crime committed by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. No person convicted under this subsection shall be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of three calendar years.

If you’ve been charged with murder or armed criminal action in the State of Missouri, contact Howard Law at (314) 833-3505 for quick and effective legal representation with an attorney ready to fight for you and your rights.

About The Author

Evan M. Howard is the managing attorney for Howard Law, a St. Louis business law and criminal defense law firm based in Clayton, Missouri. Howard Law is focused on giving honest, quick and effective representation to all of its clients. With experience dealing with tough criminal prosecution cases, Howard Law is ready to help guide you through your legal matter.

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Howard Haake is a St. Louis law firm based in Clayton, Missouri focused on business law, criminal defense, family law and estate planning. We handle all business matters from incorporation to acquisition as well as criminal defense charges from arrest to trial. Howard Haake helps clients in St. Louis, St. Charles, St. Peters, O'Fallon, Brentwood, Columbia, Eureka, Richmond Heights, Clayton, Jennings, Kirkwood, Maplewood, Manchester, Northwoods, Olivette, University City, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, Florissant, Ladue, Webster Groves, Hazelwood, Hillsboro, Washington, Union, Hermann, Pacific, and throughout St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Warren County, Gasconade County, Boone County, Crawford County, Montgomery County, and Marion County.

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