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Missouri Man Convicted of Killing Girlfriend and Her Family After Night Playing Poker


Try as they might, the defense for a murder defendant could not convince jurors to convict him on lesser charges. Instead, the jury found Richard Darren Emery, 50, guilty of four counts of first-degree murder, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In short, they agreed with prosecutors that he was in total control of his faculties when he shot and killed his girlfriend Kate Kasten, 39, then kicked down a bedroom door to kill her mother Jane Moeckel, 61, and Kasten’s two children, 8-year-old Zoe and 10-year-old Jonathan.

Authorities said Emery had been out drinking and playing in a poker tournament before returning to Kasten’s home. They got into an argument. She screamed at him to leave home. He shot her twice. Though recovering from a hip surgery, Moeckel managed to barricade with the children inside a bedroom, according to the Post-Dispatch. Emery, however, kicked down the door and shot them. Prosecutors said this was at close range.

From there, he left the residence with a handgun, an AR-15 rifle, and more than 900 rounds of ammunition. When police pulled him over, he opened fire. They shot him twice. He managed to flee and tried to carjack a woman and force her into the passenger seat of her vehicle.

“He’s making these demands,” she reportedly said. “He’s swinging at me. I’m trying to push him with my legs. I’m braced really solidly in my vehicle, but there was no way I was getting in the passenger seat.”

This carjacking failed, though she sustained seven stab wounds, including one that punctured her lung.

Cops finally arrested him after he went inside a gas station bathroom.

But Emery said he was not in control of his actions.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” he testified. “I’m there, but I’m not there. It’s like looking through somebody else’s eyes.”

The defense brought up a psychologist who said Emery lived with borderline personality disorder. The defendant, who lived a life full of issues such as feelings of inadequacy, fell into a “dream state” during the argument with Kasten.

“This was the dream being kicked out from under him,” psychologist Michael L. Hendricks said. “He had invested heavily in this relationship and was told it was all over. He’d given up so much for naught.”

The defense requested conviction for second-degree murder. The goal was to spare Emery the death penalty.

“It is murder,” public defender Stephen Reynolds reportedly said. “It’s just not deliberation. It’s not cool, it’s not reflection, it’s murder second degree.”

This “diminished capacity” defense failed.

“In fact, you were in control of everything,” prosecutor Lawrence Chrum reportedly said. “If there were no decisions being made, we wouldn’t be here.”

[Screenshot via KSDK]

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