Prosecution prepares for shooting case trial

Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson says his office does not plan to release any additional facts about the shooting death of Missouri Southern Coach Derek Moore, which took place Nov. 2.

Suspected shooter Jeffrey Bruner has been charged with two counts in the case.

 “Count one is murder in the first degree and it says it’s a class A felony, but its punishment is set at either the death penalty or life in prison without probation and parole,” Dankelson said. “At this point and time it is too early to determine if the death penalty will be sought in this case.”

The second count is armed criminal action, which alleges Bruner used a weapon, in this case a pistol, to commit the murder. Armed criminal action is an unclassified felony with a minimum three-year sentence with no maximum.

According to Dankelson, additional facts will be released in the courtroom as per Missouri Ethics Rules. The only information that will become available before the trial is additional court dates and whatever the courts require.

Brunner has been arraigned and is in the process of hiring an attorney. Dankelson explained that if the suspect cannot afford one, the public defender would be appointed to represent him.   

“The next step … is a preliminary hearing,” Dankelson said. “A preliminary hearing is  … to determine probable cause that the defendant committed a crime, and that would happen probably late in December or early January.”

Dankelson explained the Nov. 27 date released to the public is for a status hearing to keep the case moving and to determine if Bruner has hired counsel. Dankelson said the duration of a typical case of this sort is 18 to 24 months, but it could be longer or shorter.

“Our charges are determined by what the facts are,” Dankelson said. “The police departments gather the information and evidence and relay that to us, and we make the charging decision based on what evidence exists at the time.”