'It's a horrific crime'; deputies make arrests in robbery, beating of elderly Navy vet


by Diana Zoga / News 4


Posted on July 30, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 30 at 8:48 PM

(KMOV.com) – The Pulaski County Sheriff's Department says it has made six arrests in the beating and robbery of an elderly man last week.  So far, four of the suspects have been formally charged for some role in the crime.  Two others are in custody, including a fugitive who was already wanted on multiple warrants.

The victim, an 82-year-old Navy veteran who has been wheelchair-bound for years, remains in critical condition at the hospital.  According to a probable cause statement filed in court, deputies found the victim on the floor of his home with his hands and feet bound with duct tape.  The man's eyes were swollen and the duct tape broke skin and cut off circulation.  

"Someone came through his door...a number of people.  They bound him and there might have been a struggle.  They contained him, put him on the floor, and repeatedly beat him," said Pulaski County Sheriff Ronald Long.

"It's a horrific crime," he added.

Investigators believe the victim was tied up and beaten around midnight on Friday.  Deputies discovered him several hours later, after finding the victim's van abandoned on private property near the Gasconade River.

The crime set off an investigation that involved deputies from Miller, Camden, and Callaway Counties.  The Missouri Highway Patrol and police officers from the Dixon, St. Robert, Waynesville, and Fulton departments were among the agencies that took part in the search.

Roby Sapere and Thomas York face burglary and assault charges.  Jessica Berry is charged with receiving stolen property.  Deputies say a fourth person named Melissa Winkle was involved.  She is charged with possession of burglar's tools.

Sheriff Long says investigators believe two others who are in custody will be charged this week.

Yet another person, who was injured during an arrest attempt on Monday, faces charges of assaulting a police officer.

During the course of investigation, Sheriff Long says stolen property from other crimes was recovered.  He says several people were arrested, accused in other burglaries in Pulaski County, Miller County, and Camden County.