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Murder trial scheduled to begin in January

Thursday, September 4, 2008

(Photo)
Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham Jr. was gunned down March 20, 2005, near Van Buren. He is pictured here with his son Hayden. Hayden's maternal grandparents are Junior and Donna Roberts of Billmore.
JOREGON COUNTY -- The trial for accused murderer Lance Shockley is scheduled for January 2009, in Howell County.

Shockley, from Van Buren, is charged in the March 2005 shooting death of Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham Jr. near Van Buren. Graham was 37 at the time of his death.

Graham and his family have ties to Oregon County. He was formerly married to Tami Roberts, the daughter of Junior and Donna Roberts of Billmore. They had a son together, Hayden, who was 4-years old at the time of his father's death.

Graham's father, Carl Dewayne Graham Sr., and his stepmother, Beverly, live at Dexter, Mo. His mother, Donna McGinnley, lives in Gideon, Mo.

All family members stay in close contact because of Hayden.

That is not the only ties officer Graham has to Oregon County. He began his career with the Missouri Highway Patrol in 1993 with Troop G and was stationed in Thayer. His training officer was David Bailey, now retired from the Highway Patrol and working as the Police Chief in Thayer.

Graham met his former wife while he was working in Thayer.

At the time of his death he was commander of Zone Four in Troop G which consists of Reynolds and Carter Counties.

An interview last week with Carl Graham Sr. gave some new details into the events leading to his son's death. The family all called him Dewayne.

"He (the shooter) was hiding behind the house when Dewayne pulled his patrol car into the driveway of his home near Van Buren. He shot him in the back, right between the shoulder blades with a deer rifle and then blew his face off with a sawed-off shotgun," Carl Graham said.

The elder Graham went on to say his son was investigating an automobile accident where a man was found dead on the passenger side of a wrecked truck. "He knew the guy that was dead was not driving the truck because he was on the passenger floorboard of the truck. Dewayne found some fresh blood on the back of the truck and after testing found out it belonged to Shockley. The truck was also registered to Shockley," Graham said.

On March 19, Sgt. Graham received a written statement from a lady who lived near the accident scene that she had driven Shockley home after the accident. "My only son was killed March 20," he said.

Sgt. Graham was investigating the accident at the time of his death. On March 24 Shockley was arrested and initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident and put in the Carter County Jail

"On March 27, Shockley was charged with murder and was moved to the Cape County Jail in Jackson, Mo. He claimed to be afraid of the Highway Patrol and was moved around to several different jails around the state," Graham said.

The first judge in the case was William Syler from Cape County. Graham said Shockley was strong in not wanting a change of venue. In January of 2007, Judge Syler recused himself from the case.

"It took another six to eight months to appoint another judge to the case. Judge David Evans from Howell County was finally appointed. Judge Evans decided there was not enough room or security for a case of this magnitude to be held in Carter County, so that is why the trial will be held in West Plains," he said.

The prosecutor in the case will be Kevin Zoelner, assistant to State Attorney General Jay Nixon.

Even though their daughter and Sgt. Graham divorced, the Roberts were still close to Dewayne. "There are good dads and there are dads like Dewayne. He was a super dad to our grandson Hayden. We miss him and always will," Roberts said.

Both families are hoping come January justice will prevail although they all realize nothing will ever bring their grandson's father back.



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