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Andrew Wessel SIX

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: April 12, 1984 / April 10, 1987
Date of arrest: April 11, 1997
Date of birth: May 14, 1965
Victims profile: Justin Hook Jr., 20; Hook's fiancee, Tina Lade, 19; and Hook's mother, Sara Link, 41 / Kathy Allen (female, 13)
Method of murder: Bludgeoning / Stabbing with knife
Location: Wapello County, Iowa / Schuyler County, Missouri, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Missouri on August 20, 1997
 
 

 
 

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Triple homicide solved after 30 years

By Kate Allt

January 10, 2014

WAPELLO COUNTY, IOWA -- Yet another cold case from Wapello County is solved thanks to DNA evidence. It was just over a year ago that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced the arrest of Robert Pilcher in the 1974 homicide of Mary Jayne Jones. Pilcher is scheduled to stand trial for that murder on Tuesday.

Now, a triple homicide, this one 30 years old, has been resolved.

The bodies of Sara Link, Justin Hook and Tina Lade were found within days of each other in April 1984. Special Agent Mike Motsinger said the DCI contacted the Davis and Wapello County Sheriff's Offices in August 2011 to see if they had any testable DNA evidence. The evidence was resubmitted and processed, and in March 2012, DNA from the inside of Lade's jeans was identified as a match to Andrew Six.

The investigation proved Six and Hook had had some sort of disagreement over a vehicle purchase, but in a 1984 interview, Six denied knowing Lade.

Years later, Six was arrested for the abduction and murder of Kathy Allen. He was died in 1997 of lethal injection. He won't go to trial for the crime, but the identification brings closure family and friends never thought they'd get.

"Just knowing that parents and grandparents and cousins have gone to their grave not knowing what happened to their child or to their grandchild, that's heartbreaking," said Cathy Francis, Tina Lade's cousin.

At Friday's press conference, Motsinger and Wapello County Sheriff Mark Miller said investigators had footprint evidence from Six in 1984, but it wasn't enough to bring him to trial. With the age of the case, it's impossible to determine the exact timeline of the murders and everything that happened in between, but the preservation of evidence makes it certain that Six is responsible for the crime.

"Probably not [all evidence] does get saved, but the significance of a case like this, I mean, you just never know," said Sheriff Miller. "We really have to hand it to the previous sheriffs for holding onto this, [they] thought it was imperative to hold onto that, so we did get fortunate in that."

Though the DNA connection was made in 2012, the positive identification to Six opened the case all over again, and investigators made sure that everything was done correctly.

"Footwear impressions, the DNA evidence, interviews that we had done, interviews that we did with people Mr.. Six had hung with back then, just the combination of all that put together, sit down meeting with law enforcement and our local partners is what brought us to today's conclusion," said Motsinger.

Though Iowa's Cold Case Unit was shut down several years ago due to a lack of funding, investigators continue to re-open cases as they can. To Francis, the effort is worth it.

"Families never forget," she said. "And if you can help one family, it's worth it."

*****

The full press release from the Iowa Department of Safety is as follows:

The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, Davis County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation have resolved the 1984 Triple Homicide of Justin Hook, Jr., 20, Sara Link, 41, and Tina Lade, 19. Link was the mother of Justin Hook. Hook and Lade were dating at the time of the homicide.

On April 13, 1984, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance with a death investigation in rural Drakesville, Iowa. A deceased male was discovered that was later identified as Justin Hook, Jr. It was determined that Hook had been beaten to death.

The following day, April 14, 1984, Sara Link was reported missing to law enforcement. On April 16, 1984, Link’s body was discovered in a farm field off of a gravel road in rural Eldon, Iowa in Wapello County. From the evidence at the scene, it appears Link was taken to the area and subsequently beaten to death.

On April 18, 1984, Lade was found in the same vicinity where Link’s body had been found. Lade has also been beaten to death. All 3 bodies had been beaten with a blunt object.

Footprints found at both scenes appeared to be from the same person. The tread pattern of the footwear impression was made by the same type of shoe. The investigation at the time yielded no arrests.

In August of 2011, the DCI Cold Case Unit, Davis County Sheriff’s office and the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office started a review of the case. The evidence that was located at the sheriff’s office was re-examined. The evidence with the highest probability of obtaining DNA evidence was re-submitted to the DCI lab for analysis.

In March of 2012, the DCI Criminalistics Laboratory received information that a DNA profile previously developed from the evidence matched that of Andrew Wessel Six. The DNA evidence was recovered from inside the jeans of murder victim Tina Lade.

Six was a suspect in the investigation in 1984. The investigation has yielded information indicating Six was involved in burglaries in the Ottumwa area. The investigation also found that Six and Hook had some type of issue over a vehicle purchase. During an interview in 1984, Six denied knowing Lade. Subsequent investigations addressed additional suspects that were involved in criminal activity which included Six. Although some of these individuals are now deceased, the others have been interviewed.

Six was arrested in April 1987, along with his uncle Donald Petary. Both individuals were arrested for the abduction and murder of Kathy Allen from the Ottumwa area. Allen’s body was recovered in Schuyler County, Mo. Six was convicted of Murder in the First Degree and was given a death sentence. Prior to being executed, investigators attempted to interview Six regarding the Hook, Link, and Lade murders; however he was uncooperative. Six was executed by lethal injection in Missouri in August of 1997. Six’s uncle, Donald Petary, was also convicted of Murder in the First Degree of Kathy Allen. Petary died in prison in 1998.

Although Federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases. The DCI will continue to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances are made which allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence. The DCI remains committed to the resolution of Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with our local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.


DNA Links Executed Convict to 1984 Triple Murder

By Ryan J. Foley - Associated Press

January 10, 2014

A killer who was executed in Missouri for the 1987 murder of a 12-year-old girl was also responsible for a long-unsolved triple homicide in Iowa three years earlier, investigators announced Friday.

New DNA evidence implicates Andrew W. Six in the 1984 bludgeoning deaths of 20-year-old Justin Hook Jr.; Hook's fiancee, 19-year-old Tina Lade; and Hook's mother, 41-year-old Sara Link, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Wapello County Sheriff Mark Miller announced.

"What we know for sure is that Andy Six is responsible," Miller said at a news conference at his office in Ottumwa, in southeast Iowa.

Missouri authorities executed Six, then 32, by lethal injection in 1997 for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Kathy Allen. Six and his uncle kidnapped the girl from her family's trailer in Ottumwa, then slit her throat and dumped her in northern Missouri.

Retired DCI supervisor Sam Swaim said that Six was always a suspect in the 1984 triple homicide, but that investigators could not come up with enough evidence to charge him. He said that he was happy that scientific evidence has linked Six to the crime but wishes Six had been caught earlier.

"I regret that we didn't get that case solved. That would have saved Kathy Allen's life," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Hook's body was found one day after his trailer was burnt down in rural Drakesville, a sleepy town of 200 people near the Missouri border, in April 1984. When authorities tried to notify Hook's mother, they learned that she was missing.

Days later, a farmer found her body on a hilly, wooded section of his property near Eldon, about 15 miles northeast of Drakesville. Two days later, police dogs found the body of Lade in a ravine a half-mile from where Link's body was recovered. Investigators said all three had been killed by blows to the head.

The discovery of the bodies shook the rural area with little violent crime. Hook had given Lade, of Ottumwa, an engagement ring days before their deaths on the birthday they shared, when she turned 19 and he turned 20.

Several relatives of the victims attended the Friday news conference where investigators announced their conclusion. Among them was 32-year-old Justin David Hook, Hook's son, who was 2 years old at the time his father was murdered. Now a mechanic in St. Louis, he said that he doesn't remember his father and thought he would go his whole life not knowing how he was killed.

"I've been waiting my whole life to come up here and do this," he told AP. "At least it's something."

Investigators said they believe that Six killed the three after a dispute over payment for a used car he sold Hook and that he burnt down the trailer to conceal evidence.

No murder weapon was ever found, and no arrests were made.

A DCI cold case unit re-examined the case in 2011, sending DNA material believed to be sperm that was recovered from Lade's jeans to a laboratory for testing. A DNA profile was developed and matched that of Six, who had given his DNA to Missouri authorities while he was incarcerated. Six had denied during an interview in 1984 that he ever met Lade.

DCI supervisor Mike Motsinger said solid evidence, including the DNA and matching footwear impressions discovered near both bodies, ties Six to the deaths of Lade and Link. The footwear evidence had led authorities to focus on Six in 1984. Similar footwear impressions were taken from a car that Six sold after the homicides, but that wasn't enough to make an arrest, Motsinger said.

Investigators concluded that Six was also responsible for Hook's death at the trailer, but acknowledged there was no physical evidence putting him there. They believe that he acted alone, Motsinger said.

Three years after Six apparently got away with those murders, he terrorized the Allen family.

Six and his uncle, Donald Petary, went to the family's trailer under the pretense of buying a used pickup truck from the Allens. In reality, they had planned to rob the family and rape their oldest daughter, who was a pregnant teenager at the time. Six raped the teen, then slit her mother's throat with a butcher knife. The men then grabbed Kathy Allen and headed south.

They were arrested in Texas the next day. Petary led police to Kathy's body — in a muddy ditch along a gravel road about 20 miles south of the Iowa border. She had bled to death after her throat was slashed. Petary died in prison in 1998 while awaiting execution.

Investigators tried to re-interview Six about the triple homicide before his execution, but he "was uncooperative," Motsinger said.

Cynthia Moyes, Link's daughter and Hook's sister, said the deaths have been hard to live with. She said Friday's news finally brought some closure but also makes her miss her once tight-knit family.

"My mom was my best friend, and I lost her at age 21," she said.


State of Missouri v. Andrew Wessel Six

805 SW 2d 159

Andrew Wessel Six was executed on August 20, 1997

Case Facts: 

On April 10, 1987, Andrew Six and his uncle Donald Petary went to the home of Mr. And Mrs. Don and Stella Allen in Ottumwa, Iowa with the intent to purchase a pick-up truck that was being sold by the Allens to help pay for Mr. Allen’s open heart surgery.

In the truck, Six overpowered Mrs. Allen and Petary taped her hands behind her back with duct tape they had purchased earlier that evening. Learning that the Allens’ 17 year old daughter Christine was in their trailer home, Six stated that he wanted to rape Christine who was several months pregnant.

When the trio returned to the trailer Don Allen was waiting outside. Six held a knife to Stella Allen’s throat while Petary, also armed with a knife, ordered Mr. Allen inside the trailer where Petary taped Mr. Allen’s hands. Mr. And Mrs. Allen were then taken into a bedroom where their mouths were also taped.

Petary guarded the Allens while Six retrieved their 13 year old daughter Kathy who was taken to the bedroom with her parents. Six then went to Christine’s room and raped her.

Six then took Christine to the bedroom with the other family members and ordered the two girls to get dressed in overalls. Six took Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s wallets and during that time struggled with Mr. Allen whereupon Six regained control of Mr. Allen threatened to kill Mrs. Allen if Mr. Allen attempted anything further.

As Six and Petary were leading the Allen family from their home Mr. Allen and Christine managed to break free to run for help. Six then cut Mrs. Allen’s throat exposing her carotid artery which required 50 stitches to close. Six and Petary abducted Kathy Allen and then made their escape.

The following evening Six and Petary were arrested in east Texas. With information received during interrogation law officers found Kathy Allen’s body in a ditch near a culvert on a gravel road of U.S. Highway 63 in Schuyler County, Missouri.

She wore bib overalls. Her throat had been cut severing her jugular vein and carotid artery causing her to bleed to death. A hair matching that of Andrew Six was found in her underwear.

Legal Chronology

1984
01/27 -- Six was arrested for Fifth Degree Theft in Pella, Iowa and fined $ 25.00.

1985
12/30 -- Convicted of Misdemeanor Theft Fourth Degree and placed on one year probation and fined $1,295 and ordered to pay court costs, restitution and attorney’s fees. On June 20, 1987 the probation was revoked and he was placed on court supervision until all costs were paid in full.

1987
4/11 – Andrew Six is arrested for the murder of Kathy Allen.

1988
7/29 – Andrew Six is convicted of Murder First Degree in the Schuyler County Circuit Court. The jury cannot agree to as to the sentence. The trial judge assesses the death penalty as the punishment.
9/2 – Six is formally sentenced to death for Murder First Degree.
9/8 – Six appealed his conviction to the Missouri Supreme Court.

1989
3/13 – Six filed a motion for post-conviction relief with the Missouri Supreme Court.
11/28-30 – The Circuit Court of Schuyler County held an evidentiary hearing on Six’s post-conviction relief motion.

1990
3/13 – The Circuit Court of Schuyler County denies Six’s motion for post-conviction relief.

1991
3/5 – The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed Six’s conviction and sentence and the denial of post-conviction relief.
10/7 – The United States Supreme Court declined to review Six’s case.
10/16 – Six filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

1995
5/2 – The United States District Court denied Six’s federal habeas corpus petition.

1996
8/27 – The United States Court of appeals for the eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision denying federal habeas corpus relief.

1997
6/2 – The United States Supreme Court declined to review Six’s federal habeas case.
6/13 – The Missouri State Supreme Court set an execution date of August 20, 1997.

 


857 F.2d 458

26 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1090

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Donald Eugene PETARY, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Andrew Wessel SIX, Appellant.

Nos. 87-2485, 87-2486.

United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.

Submitted May 13, 1988.
Decided Sept. 14, 1988.

Before HEANEY and McMILLIAN, Circuit Judges, and HILL,* Senior District Judge.

McMILLIAN, Circuit Judge.

These cases were consolidated for purposes of appeal. Donald Eugene Petary and Andrew Wessel Six appeal from final judgments entered in the District Court1 for the Southern District of Iowa upon jury verdicts finding each guilty of kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1201. Petary and Six received identical sentences of two hundred years imprisonment with possibility of parole after sixty-six years, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4205(b)(1), and each was ordered to pay a special assessment of $50 and restitution in the amount of $1331.40.

For reversal, Petary argues that the district court erred in denying his pre-trial motion to suppress certain statements and in imposing a two-hundred year sentence. For reversal, Six argues that the district court erred in (1) admitting evidence of other crimes, (2) denying his motion for change of venue, (3) denying his motion for a mistrial, and (4) admitting photographic evidence. Six further argues that the cumulative effect of these errors denied him a fair trial. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the judgments of the district court.

In Ottumwa, Iowa, on the night of April 10, 1987, Mrs. Stella Allen accompanied Six and his uncle Petary on a purported test drive of a pick-up truck that the Allen family had offered for sale. Mrs. Allen was slightly familiar with Petary because he had previously lived in the same trailer court.

During the test drive and after driving a distance down the highway, Six pulled the truck off the road and stopped, indicating that he wanted Petary to drive. As the two men switched places, Six pulled a knife on Mrs. Allen, threatened her with bodily harm and bound her hands with duct tape. They then returned to the Allens' trailer home.

Petary and Six confronted Mr. Donald Allen outside the trailer and ordered him back into the trailer home by threatening to kill Mrs. Allen. Six had a knife pointed at Mrs. Allen's neck. When they were inside the trailer, Six taped and bound Mr. Allen to a chair. Six awakened the Allens' twelve-year-old daughter, Kathy Allen, in the process of taping her mouth shut. Six then raped the Allens' seventeen-year-old daughter, Christine Allen, who was approximately six months pregnant.

Then both men tried to abduct the entire Allen family. Petary forced the two Allen daughters out of the trailer and into his station wagon. Six forced Mrs. Allen at knifepoint out of the trailer. While Six was holding Mrs. Allen, there was a scuffle and Mr. Allen and Christine Allen escaped. Kathy Allen remained in the station wagon. Six reacted by slashing Mrs. Allen's throat.2 The two men then fled in the station wagon, taking Kathy Allen with them.

On April 11, 1987, near Moscow, Texas, both men were apprehended and arrested. Kathy Allen was missing. After his arrest, local law enforcement officers informed Petary of his Miranda rights, and he signed a waiver of rights. He was then interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. Before interrogating him, the FBI agents repeated the Miranda warnings. Petary initially expressed some reluctance, but he agreed to talk about "some things and some he would not."

The FBI agents told Petary that Six was currently undergoing questioning and was talking and would probably place full blame for the crime on him. Unknown to Petary, Six had refused to cooperate and did not make any statements. The FBI agents urged Petary to reveal the nature and extent of his participation in the kidnapping and pressed him for details as to Kathy Allen's whereabouts. Several hours later, after the FBI agents told Petary that Mrs. Allen was still alive, Petary provided additional information that enabled the authorities to locate Kathy Allen's body.3

On April 22, 1987, Petary and Six were indicted and charged in a single count indictment with kidnapping Kathy Allen in violation of 18 U.S.C. Secs. 1201, 2. Petary and Six were tried separately and each was found guilty. These appeals followed.

No. 87-2485 United States v. Donald Eugene Petary

Petary first argues that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements because the statements were not made voluntarily. Petary argues that before he was interrogated by the FBI agents, he had not slept for approximately twenty-four hours and had consumed beer but no food.

He argues that four agents interrogated him for six to seven hours despite his expressed reluctance to talk and induced him to talk by lying to him about their interrogation of Six and by promising him that if he cooperated, his cooperation would be made known to the proper authorities. Petary contends that his incriminating statements were induced by the FBI agents' misrepresentations and therefore were involuntary. We do not agree.

The voluntariness of statements made during custodial interrogation is subject to plenary review. Miller v. Fenton, 474 U.S. 104, 112, 106 S.Ct. 445, 451, 88 L.Ed.2d 405 (1985); United States v. Wilson, 787 F.2d 375, 380 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 857, 107 S.Ct. 197, 93 L.Ed.2d 129 (1986). The nature of this review is a flexible consideration of the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the challenged statements were the result of an overborne will. Rachlin v. United States, 723 F.2d 1373, 1377 (8th Cir.1983).

This inquiry requires an examination of the details of the interrogation, the tactics used, and the personal characteristics of the defendant. Id. "Misrepresentations on the part of the government do not make a statement per se involuntary." Flittie v. Solem, 775 F.2d 933, 945 (8th Cir.1985) (banc) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1025, 106 S.Ct. 1223, 89 L.Ed.2d 333 (1986). It is but one factor to be considered in reviewing the totality of the circumstances. See Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 739, 89 S.Ct. 1420, 1424-1425, 22 L.Ed.2d 684 (1969).

Here, Petary was advised of his Miranda rights at least twice and he signed a waiver; he does not now claim to have misunderstood those rights. Petary is a competent adult and was familiar with arrest procedures, factors which indicate that he would not easily fall prey to FBI interrogation tactics. Further, the interrogation had an immediate investigatory objective.

At the time of the interrogation, the FBI agents were unaware of Kathy Allen's condition or her whereabouts. Petary provided the information about where Kathy Allen could be found only after he was told that Mrs. Allen was still alive. A logical conclusion would be that Petary decided to provide provide this information because he thought he could still avoid a murder charge if he helped the authorities locate Kathy Allen while she, too, had a chance for survival.

Taken together, the totality of the circumstances indicate that Petary acted knowledgeably and freely when he made the incriminating statements. We thus hold that the district court did not err in denying Petary's motion to suppress these statements.

Petary next argues that the district court's imposition of a two-hundred year sentence without possibility of parole for sixty-six years was in excess of statutory limits and an abuse of discretion. Petary contends that several factors support a less severe sentence: his role in the kidnapping was relatively passive, he is fifty years old, he has been diagnosed as an alcoholic, and he provided information that helped the authorities find Kathy Allen.

In general, a sentence is not subject to review unless it exceeds statutory limits, violates constitutional or procedural requirements, or shows that the district court manifestly or grossly abused its discretion. E.g., United States v. Rosandich, 729 F.2d 1512, 1512 (8th Cir.1984) (per curiam); United States v. Hollis, 718 F.2d 277, 279 (8th Cir.1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1036, 104 S.Ct. 1309, 79 L.Ed.2d 707 (1984).

The penalty for the crime of kidnapping is "imprisonment for any term of years or for life." 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1201. Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4205(b)(1) authorizes the sentencing judge, when required by "the ends of justice and the best interest of the public," to set the minimum number of years that a prisoner must serve before he or she is eligible for parole, so long as the minimum term does not exceed one-third of the total sentence length.

In Rothgeb v. United States, 789 F.2d 647, 652 (8th Cir.1986), this court affirmed a sentence requiring the defendant to serve longer than ten years before he is eligible for parole under Sec. 4205(b)(1). See also United States v. O'Driscoll, 761 F.2d 589, 600 (10th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1020, 106 S.Ct. 1207, 89 L.Ed.2d 320 (1986) (three-hundred-year sentence without possibility of parole for ninety-nine years held within statutory bounds for kidnapping conviction). Petary's two-hundred-year sentence was within the statutory limits for the crime of kidnapping and thus not illegal. Id. at 598.

Nor did the district court abuse its discretion in sentencing Petary to a term of two hundred years without possibility of parole for sixty-six years. The crime was particularly brutal, Petary has a long criminal record, and the record shows that his role in the kidnapping was an active, not passive, one.

No. 87-2486 United States v. Andrew Wessel Six

Six first argues that the district court erred in admitting evidence of other criminal acts that occurred before the kidnapping. Six specifically argues that evidence about restraining Mr. and Mrs. Allen with duct tape, the rape of Christine Allen, and the slashing of Mrs. Allen's throat was improperly admitted. Six argues that this evidence was not admissible as evidence of other crimes pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 404(b), or, in the alternative, was not admissible under Fed.R.Evid. 403 because its probative value was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial impact.

The government argues that in the present case the evidence of other crimes was not admitted under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) but because it was "an integral part of the immediate context of the crime charged." United States v. Bass, 794 F.2d 1305, 1312 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 869, 93 L.Ed.2d 159, 107 S.Ct. 233 (1986).

In general, evidence of a defendant's other criminal acts not charged in the indictment is not admissible. Evidence of other crimes may be admissible, however, where such evidence is "so blended or connected with the one on trial as that proof of one incidentally involves the other; or explains the circumstances thereof; or tends logically to prove any element of the crime charged." Bracey v. United States, 79 U.S.App.D.C. 23, 142 F.2d 85, 88 (footnotes omitted), cert. denied, 322 U.S. 762, 64 S.Ct. 1274, 88 L.Ed. 1589 (1944); see, e.g., United States v. Tate, 821 F.2d 1328, 1331 (8th Cir.1987), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 108 S.Ct. 712, 98 L.Ed.2d 662 (1988); United States v. Derring, 592 F.2d 1003, 1007 (8th Cir.1979).

Here, the other crimes constituted an integral part of the operative facts of the crime charged, kidnapping,4 and was therefore not excludable as extrinsic evidence, and Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) is not implicated. See, e.g., United States v. Bass, 794 F.2d at 1312.

"[T]aking [other crimes] evidence out of the scope of [Fed.R.Evid.] 404(b) analysis does not remove all limits on [its] admission.... The dictates of [Fed.R.Evid.] 403 must still be applied to ensure that [its] probative value ... is not outweighed by its prejudicial value." Id.

Although we are somewhat troubled by the violent and extremely emotional nature of the evidence of other crimes in the present case, "[t]he line between permissible evidence which is an inextricable part of a criminal transaction and unduly prejudicial evidence proscribed by [Fed.R.Evid.] 403 is thin." Id. at 1313. We find no abuse of discretion.

Six next argues that the district court erred in denying his motion for change of venue because of prejudicial pre-trial publicity. Six waived any objection by failing to question any juror about his or her knowledge of this case during voir dire. Cf. Robinson v. Monsanto Co., 758 F.2d 331, 335 (8th Cir.1985) (right to challenge a juror waived by failure to object at the time the jury is empaneled if the basis for the objection might have been discovered during voir dire). Even if Six had preserved this issue for appellate review, the record fails to support his argument.

Six next argues that the district court erred in failing to declare a mistrial after the Allens shouted derogatory remarks at him from the witness stand. "The decision whether a trial has been so tainted by prejudicial testimony that a mistrial should be declared lies within the discretion of the district court." United States v. Muza, 788 F.2d 1309, 1312 (8th Cir.1986); see United States v. Reed, 724 F.2d 677, 679-80 (8th Cir.1984).

Here, the district court promptly admonished the jury to disregard the Allens' remarks. See United States v. Young, 553 F.2d 1132, 1136 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 959, 97 S.Ct. 2686, 53 L.Ed.2d 278 (1977). Under these circumstances, we hold the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for mistrial.

Six finally argues that the district court erred in admitting into evidence a graphic photograph of Kathy Allen's body. We disagree. The district court has broad discretion in deciding whether to admit a given item of evidence. United States v. Williams, 545 F.2d 47, 50 (8th Cir.1976).

In this case there is no indication that the photograph was so gruesome or inflammatory that its prejudicial impact substantially outweighed its probative value. Because there were signs of a struggle and blood at the site, the photograph of the body was evidence that tended to show that Kathy Allen had been alive when Six and Petary transported her across state lines against her will. The district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the photograph of the body into evidence.

Because we found no merit in any of Six's individual allegations of error, there is no reason to consider whether their cumulative effect denied him a fair trial.

Accordingly, the judgments of the district court are affirmed.

*****

*

The Honorable Irving Hill, Senior United States District Judge for the Central District of California, sitting by designation

1

Petary and Six were tried at the same time but before separate judges and juries. Petary was tried before the Honorable Charles R. Wolle, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa, and Six was tried before the Honorable Harold D. Vietor, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa

2

Mrs. Allen survived, but approximately fifty stitches were required to close the wound

3

Kathy Allen was found near Kirksville, Missouri, on April 12, 1987. An autopsy revealed that she had died from a knife wound on the right side of her neck that had severed her carotid artery

4

The assaults on the other members of the Allen family and the kidnapping of Kathy Allen were parts of a single criminal transaction. The assaults showed that Kathy Allen did not voluntarily accompany Six and Petary. Further, the evidence of Christine Allen's rape helped to establish a motive for the abduction

 

 

 
 
 
 
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