State of Missouri v.
Robert Allen Walls
744 S.W.2d 791 (Mo. banc 1988)
Robert Allen Walls was
executed on June 30, 1999
On the night of December 5, 1985 Robert Walls, Terry Wilson and
Tommy Thomas were together drinking and discussing ways to leave St.
Louis. Wilson told them he had recently burglarized the house of an
elderly man and knew they could get a car and some money from the
The trio took a cab to Maplewood, Missouri in St.
Louis County to the home of Mr. Fred Harmon. Wilson and Thomas
entered through a window of the home while Walls remained outside.
Walls later entered the house through a side door.
Mr. Harmon, who recognized Wilson, told him he
would give them anything if they would just leave him alone. Walls
saw Thomas kicking Mr. Harmon in the head with the toe of his boot
telling him to shut up. All three tried to tie Mr. Harmon up with
neckties while he strongly resisted. During the struggle Walls held
Mr. Harmonís head down with his foot and suggested to the others
that they tie the victimís feet together.
The three men then dragged Mr. Harmon to the
kitchen where they decided to put him into the freezer. Wilson
started putting the victim in the freezer and asked the others to
help him. All three lifted Mr. Harmon into the freezer upside down.
Walls later opened the freezer and reported that Mr. Harmon states "Iím
already dead, let me die."
Walls went back in the bedroom for the keys to
the car and when he returned a television and typewriter had been
placed on top of the freezer. Wilson and Thomas also placed a chair
on top of the freezer to further hinder any attempt by Mr. Harmon to
escape. The three then drank some sodas, took Mr. Harmonís money and
left the scene in the victimís car.
Three days later on December 18, 1985 the
Maplewood Police Department found Mr. Harmon in the freezer after
neighbors reported they had not recently seen the victim.
The police also discovered that four stove
burners were on and the pilot lights were extinguished. They
observed that the telephone cord had been ripped from the wall and
that there was blood on Mr. Harmonís bed and the bedroom floor and
The police found Mr. Harmonís nude body in the
freezer covered with a sheet. An autopsy revealed that Mr. Harmon
sustained numerous blunt trauma injuries to his head and limbs, had
broken ribs and a bruise on his spleen. Death was attributed to a
combination of blunt injuries, hypothermia and suffocation.
Walls was arrested on December 20, 1985 in Santa
Monica, California for burglary with Terry Wilson. The victimís car
was recovered near the scene of the burglary and both Walls and
Wilson were charged with the murder of Mr. Harmon. While in
California Walls made a statement to the police concerning the crime.
10/22 - Robert Walls was sentenced to three
concurrent seven year sentences for three counts of burglary second
degree in St. Charles County, Missouri.
12/15 - Robert Walls, Terry Wilson, and Tommy Thomas murdered Mr.
3/15 - Walls was charged with first degree murder, burglary and
robbery in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
11/8 - Walls is found guilty by a jury on all charges and recommends
the death penalty on the murder first degree conviction.
12/18 - The court sentenced Walls to death.
2/17 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed Wallís conviction and
5/5 - Walls filed a motion for post-conviction relief.
10/3 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallsí
12/9 - The circuit court denied Wallís motion for post-conviction
11/14 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Wallsí
motion for post-conviction relief.
3/26 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallsí
3/30 - Walls filed federal habeas corpus petition in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
2/27 - The federal district court granted the writ of habeas corpus.
8/6 - The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
reversed the judgement of the district court granting the writ. The
court ordered that habeas relief be denied.
4/19 - The United States Supreme Court declined review of Wallís
5/4 - The State filed a motion to set an execution date with the
Missouri Supreme Court.
5/28 - The Missouri Supreme Court scheduled Wallsí execution date
for June 30, 1999.
Robert Walls was
sentenced to die for the 1985 slaying of an elderly man whose bound
and beaten body was found stuffed in a freezer.
Walls was convicted of
killing 88-year-old Fred Harmon after walking away from a halfway
house where he was serving a burglary sentence.
He and 2 men he met at the
halfway house Tommy Thomas and Terry Wilson went to the victim's
home to rob him. Harmon was bound with neckties, dragged to the
kitchen and shoved into a freezer. The men shut the lid and piled a
TV, a chair and other heavy objects on top. They took $100 and
Harmon's car and took off for California, where they were
An autopsy determined that
Harmon died of head injuries, suffocation and hypothermia. Walls
said he was interested only in stealing money and Harmon's car. "My
goal was never to kill this man," he said. "I told them, `Don't do
it. Leave him alone.'"
Wilson, 33, was convicted of
2nd-degree murder and is serving a life term in prison. Thomas, 31,
is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to 1st-degree
murder, robbery and burglary.