Pros­e­cu­tors: Fa­ther helped daugh­ter in mur­der-sui­cide plot


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Mis­souri jail guard per­suaded her ter­mi­nally ill fa­ther to fa­tally shoot her es­tranged hus­band to re­solve a cus­tody dis­pute and then kill him­self so it ap­peared to be a mur­der-sui­cide, au­thor­i­ties al­lege.

El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore, 35, of Quincy, pleaded not guilty last week to first-de­gree mur­der in the death of Lance Kil­gore. No at­tor­ney is listed for her in on­line court records. She is jailed with­out bond.

A Mis­souri State High­way Pa­trol sergeant wrote in charg­ing doc­u­ments that 77-yearold Charles San­der killed his son-in-law and him­self in Septem­ber. The shoot­ing oc­curred dur­ing what was sup­posed to be a cus­tody ex­change of the cou­ple’s 2-year-old son at a con­ve­nience store in Osce­ola, which is about 90 miles south­east of Kansas City.

The sergeant said the child was the fo­cus of a con­tentious di­vorce that was nearly fi­nal­ized. A wit­ness who was at­tempt­ing to me­di­ate the sep­a­ra­tion said El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore de­scribed hang­ing a pic­ture of her es­tranged hus­band on a tree and said it felt “good” to shoot it. An­other wit­ness re­ported El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore said that if Lance Kil­gore tried to take her baby away, she would kill him.

Af­ter the cou­ple sep­a­rated last year, El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore moved in with her mother and be­gan work­ing at the St. Clair County Jail. While there, she asked two in­mates for help killing her hus­band, ac­cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments.

She was fired in Au­gust af­ter one of the in­mates re­ported that she’d made the re­quest. She ad­mit­ted un­der ques­tion­ing to smug­gling the in­mate con­tra­band but de­nied the so­lic­i­ta­tion al­le­ga­tion.

In a recorded call, she can be heard telling the sec­ond in­mate that her fa­ther had of­fered to “han­dle my prob­lem for me.” Charg­ing doc­u­ments al­lege she also told the in­mate: “I’ll let him, but I’d hate to see one of my par­ents go to jail.”

Charles San­der, a con­victed felon with an ex­ten­sive his­tory of drug-re­lated ar­rests, was in poor health and had been tak­ing what the sergeant de­scribed as a “farewell tour” in which he was con­tact­ing fam­ily mem­bers and other to re­store bro­ken re­la­tion­ships.

The sergeant wrote that El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore blamed her fa­ther for her brother’s sui­cide. Charg­ing doc­u­ments de­scribe Charles San­der as be­ing “ter­mi­nal,” but no de­tails are pro­vided on his ill­ness.

One wit­ness said that the day be­fore the shoot­ing, he of­fered El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore his as­sis­tance if she wanted to run and hide with her son. The sergeant wrote that El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore told the wit­ness she “had it taken care of” and that the wit­ness should stop call­ing.

That night, Charles San­der stayed with El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore at her mother’s home, even though her par­ents were di­vorced. He left for the cus­tody ex­change the next day with his ex-wife, ac­cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments.

While Lance Kil­gore was talk­ing to his mother-in-law, Charles San­der shot him and then shot him­self. The shoot­ings were cap­tured on store sur­veil­lance video.

El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore ar­rived min­utes later in an­other ve­hi­cle with her son, ex­plain­ing that she was “run­ning late,” the sergeant wrote.

The pis­tol used in the killing had been re­ported miss­ing by El­iz­a­beth Kil­gore a week ear­lier. Lance Kil­gore had ex­pressed con­cerns about his safety as the sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lated, the sergeant wrote.

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