Suspect in UCity attempted robbery has violent history


by Diana Zoga / News 4

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 30 at 9:16 AM

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo ( -- Two suspects are charged with trying to rob a man in University City on Tuesday. 

Jared Tate,20, and Earl Farmer, 22, are charged with attempted robbery and armed criminal action. 

According to court records, Tate and Farmer were armed with guns when they went to meet someone to negotiate a debt near the intersection of Vernon and Pennsylvania avenues. According to officials, the suspects and victim knew eachother.

The victim only had a couple of dollars. Farmer reportedly grabbed the victim and demanded he lead them to his home.  On the walk to the victim's home, he was able to alert a witness, who called police.

Farmer was on parole, released from prison in March after serving less than three years for the manslaughter death of Peter Buckner, 48.  Buckner was an administrator for the nonprofit Annie Malone Children's home.  He was delivering food for the charity in 2004 when Farmer, driving a stolen car, broadsided Buckner's van and took off. 

When News 4 contacted Buckner's family on Wednesday, they said they had no idea Farmer was out of prison.

"The first thing that came to my mind was that nobody called and told me," said Dr. Elinor Hancock - Buckner's widow.

The Missouri Department of Corrections notifies the actual victims of a crime.  In the case of homicide, the family gets an automatic notification of a parole hearing, escape, death, pardon, commutation, or release to community.  Since Farmer was convicted of manslaughter, Buckner's family would have had to take an extra step and register for notification. 

"Manslaughter versus murder; my husband is dead.  I should know everything that boy is doing," said Dr. Hancock.

Buckner's family says they believed they were going to get notifications.  During the trial, they received phone calls and updates about Farmer's status.  In 2009, Dr. Hancock suffered a heart attack and couldn't even attend Farmer's sentencing hearing.  They say they weren't aware of another registration requirement.

Buckner's stepdaughter said she wished she knew about Farmer's release in order to reach out to him.  As early as this January, she says wrote letters to Farmer in prison, offering to help him find a mentor.

"I wanted him to get his life together because nothing good has come out of my stepfather's death.  In my mind, if he had gotten his life together, then this would have been the purpose God took him for," said Farrell McClure.

Buckner's other daughter said she was disappointed.  In 2009, she spoke at Farmer's sentencing hearing when Farmer apologized to the family.

"I stood there in front of him and told him this is not a happy day for us, the day that he got sent to jail," said Brittani Williams.

"Brittani's exact words were, 'This isn't a happy day for us because instead of sending a young man to college, we're sending him to jail,'" added McClure.