State News Briefs

State Supreme Court sets execution date

The Missouri Supreme Court has set a March 16 execution date for Stanley L. Hall, convicted of the January 1994 death of a St. Louis woman after he stole her car at gunpoint and threw her off the McKinley Bridge.

The office of Attorney General Jay Nixon represented the state against Hall’s appeals.

On the evening of Jan. 15, 1994, Hall and an accomplice approached Barbara Jo Wood at the South County Shopping Center in St. Louis. After forcing her at gunpoint to move into the passenger seat of her own vehicle, they drove Wood to the McKinley Bridge and forced her out of the car.

According to witness accounts, a struggle ensued as Wood pleaded for her life. Hall eventually forced her over the guardrail, where she plunged 90 feet to her death.

It was more than seven months before portions of her remains were recovered.

Witnesses notified the authorities, and Hall was arrested moments later. After waiving his Miranda rights, Hall identified a photo of Wood as the woman he forced off the bridge.

A St. Louis County Circuit Court jury found Hall guilty of first degree murder and sentenced him to death on June 21, 1996.

New Law provides fee office accountability

Legislation to provide legislative oversight of the appointment process for motor vehicle fee office agents was introduced Feb. 22, by Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia).

“There have been several recent fee office appointments by the governor that have been very questionable,” Graham said. “My bill (Senate Bill 398) would allow the Senate to investigate the background of the governor’s nominees and then either confirm or deny the appointments.”

There are 171 fee offices and 11 branch offices of the Missouri department of Revenue handling motor vehicle-related transactions such as driver’s license renewals, the issuing of titles and sales tax payments for new cars.

The governor has appointed agents to run the fee offices for many years, and Gov. Matt Blunt recently announced he would be converting the state-run branch offices into fee offices.

“These are the kinds of appointments that need further scrutiny, and the Senate already has the duty to approve other gubernatorial appointments,” Graham said. “It makes perfect sense for the Senate to take a look at these important appointments.”

Trout rule change takes effect Tuesday

The 2005 trout season opener will take place on Tuesday. Several changes to boost angler success will be in place.

Creel limits will be reduced to a daily limit of trout to four. Lowering the limit will five less successful anglers a better chance of catching trout.

The four trout parks have a new 15-inch minimum length limit on brown trout. This is aimed at taking advantage of the fish’s growth potential.

The Missouri Conservation Department stocks three fish for each angler expected to visit trout parks on opening day.

Springs, diminished by several years of drought, have been replenished by recent normal rainfall levels.

The higher flows from springs boost the number of fish the Conservation Department hatcheries can produce.

For the first time in three years, the agency will return to its normal stocking rate of 2.4 trout per angler at trout parks. The rate has been only 2.0 trout per angler.

“Trout are among Missouri’s most popular game fish,” George Kromrey said.