Prosecutors seek death penalty against St. Charles man charged with killing girlfriend, 2 children and her mother

Prosecutors announced Monday they would seek the death penalty for Richard Emery, the St. Charles man charged with committing a quadruple homicide.
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 2:49 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Prosecutors announced Monday they would seek the death penalty for Richard Emery, the St. Charles man charged with committing a quadruple homicide in December of 2018.

Police were called to the scene of a shooting in the 100 block of Whetstone at 11:55 p.m. Friday, December 28. The 911 dispatcher reportedly heard gunshots and sounds of people screaming during the call.

St. Charles police later confirmed three people were shot and killed at the home on Whetstone and a fourth victim died at the hospital from gunshot wounds sustained at the home.

Zoe J. Kasten, 8, Jonathan Kasten, 10, Jane Moeckel, 61, and Kate Kasten, 39, were identified by police as the victims.

Kasten was Emery’s girlfriend of more than a year, and both children were from Kasten’s previous marriage.

Moeckel, also known by her friends as Jane Campbell, was Kasten’s mother and staying with the family while she recovered from a recent hip surgery.

Officers said they saw Emery exit the home and get into a white Chevrolet Silverado in the driveway before leaving the subdivision that night.

After officers stopped the car, police said the 46-year-old refused to get out of the car and allegedly fired shots at the two responding officers.

The officer’s vehicle was struck eight times by gunfire, according to police.

The officer, who has 16 years of experience on the St. Charles Police Force, and his K-9 unit were uninjured but Emery escaped on foot into a wooded area.

THE MANHUNT

The Major Case Squad was called in to assist with the investigation. Helicopter and SWAT teams were also called to assist in the search for Emery.

Hours after the killings, detectives say Emery attempted to carjack a woman on DelaCroix near Muegge Road. The woman told officers Emery approached her and said “I gotta get out of here.”

He was unable to start the woman’s car and then stabbed her seven times, according to police. The woman was listed in critical but stable condition.

Police took Emery in custody around 7:30 a.m. the next morning when they found him at QuikTrip on 1st Capital Drive, just off Interstate 70. Workers at the convenience store called police when Emery, covered in blood, went into the bathroom. He had sustained two gunshot wounds.

Emery was hospitalized and treated for his injuries.

While being interviewed by authorities at the hospital, he reportedly asked if the woman he allegedly stabbed during his carjacking attempt was okay. According to charging documents, Emery was sitting in a trauma room with detectives and asked “Are you the officers I shot at?”. He apologized to the detectives after learning that they were friends with the officers he fired shots at earlier.

Both the gun and the knife were found near the scene by investigators.

During his arraignment, the judge read all 15 charges against Emery. He did not speak but shook his head yes or no when responding to questions. Emery shook his head no when asked if he had contacted the public defender’s office.

Friday, April 12, 2019, a grand jury indicted him on all 15 criminal counts.

SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS

Neighbors and loved ones were shocked by the string of crimes and left at a loss when searching for Emery’s motive.

“The big question is what the heck happened,” said Fredrick Moeckel.

Moeckel was the father of Kate and grandfather of Zoe and Johnathon. He says his ex-wife Jane died trying to protect the children.

“It’s hard to not say something bad about Darren but I can’t cause there was never an indication that something like this could happen he always took care he helped the kids, the kids loved him,” said Moeckel.

Julie Schaffer was very close with the family. She was supposed to be at Kasten’s home the night of the shooting, but was sick and didn’t go.

“Why did you do this Darren? Why would you do something like this to my babies,” Schaffer said.

Each of Emery’s 15 charges carries a possible penalty of 30 years to life in prison, but immediately after the killings, St. Charles Prosecutor Tim Lohmar broached the possibility of the death penalty.

“It’s premature for us to make any sort of pronouncement about that right now, but I can tell you this thing looks and smells like a death penalty case,” he said at the time.

Monday, Lohmar followed through on that statement.

“We intend to seek the death penalty,” he said. “The way it works in Missouri we as prosecutors in first degree-murder cases can ask the jury after hearing evidence to consider whether the death penalty is appropriate,” he said. “There would have to be a finding of guilty before that, but in the penalty phase, the jury will be given the opportunity to consider the death penalty.”

There is no mention of Emery ever inquiring about the four victims he is accused of killing.