Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Jury: Doss guilty in murders of Mill Valley grads

Andrew Eli, pictured with his mother, Diane Eli Caldwell of Shawnee.

Andrew Eli, pictured with his mother, Diane Eli Caldwell of Shawnee.

February 18, 2011

Jurors on Friday convicted a Kansas City, Mo., man — on trial for the second time — of murder in the execution-style shooting deaths of two Mill Valley High School graduates.

Following deliberations that spanned three days, jurors found Eria Doss, 19, guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and four counts of armed criminal action.

The victims were longtime friends Andrew Eli, 23, and Justin Budreau, 24.

On April 18, 2009, Doss and Michael Gunn entered Eli’s home near 59th Street and Tracy Avenue in east Kansas City, Mo. They woke Eli and Budreau — who was visiting from out of town — from a nap, forced them to kneel on the ground while they ransacked the apartment, then shot them in the backs of their heads.

Doss and Gunn each accused the other of pulling the trigger.

Doss was tried for his role in the crime last year, but a mistrial was declared when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Jury selection for the new trial began Monday in Jackson County (Mo.) court. Attorneys presented evidence and closing arguments Tuesday and Wednesday. Jurors deliberated Wednesday afternoon, all day Thursday and Friday morning before returning their verdict.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Dawn Parsons pushed for a first-degree murder conviction. She highlighted that the defendants showed up with a gun and made the victims kneel on the floor with their hands behind their heads before shooting them.

Parsons reminded jurors that, according to the law, deliberation means “cool reflection upon the matter for any length of time, no matter how brief.”

The jury, however, sided with Doss' attorney, James Fletcher.

Doss is guilty only of second-degree murder because he admitted to participating in the felony robbery that resulted in the deaths of Eli and Budreau, Fletcher said. However, he said, Doss should not be found guilty of first-degree murder because he did not deliberate killing the victims.

In December, a judge convicted Gunn of second-degree murder in the case and sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

A third defendant in the case, Larry Marshall, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Although he was not inside the house at the time of the murders, Marshall admitted planning a felony crime — the robbery — that resulted in the deaths of Eli and Budreau.

In Doss’ case, the same jury that convicted him will recommend his sentence.

Comments

conrad36 3 years, 6 months ago

Im juror number 36, this is what I was afraid of. we did not side with that moron fletcher, thats why we gave 4 life sentences. Myself along with 6 others understood the instructions given to us by the judge, those instructions were complicated. 4 people thought that the 4th instruction meant something else, and I hate to say it but I think the final juror wanted doss to walk out of the front door. we could not sway the 5 wanting murder 2, the jury would have been hung, and we were afraid of a mistrial. allthough we could not all agree on the fourth instruction concerning cool reflection, along with the fact that on instruction number 4 only had doss"s name as the murderer, instructions 1-3 had if you believe michael gun or eria doss. we all agreed on 1 -3., some were unsure if doss pulled the trigger. we all agreed that either doss or gunn did and everyone in court agrees we will never know which one did, but I strongly believe eria did. So to avoid a mistrial or hung jury, we went murder 2, and we all agreed that monster would never go home again. 4 life sentences plus 200 years. Its offensive to myself along with everyone else to say we sided with fletcher. We sided with dawn parsons, and the victoms families.

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satisfied 3 years, 6 months ago

Conrad36 - as a family member I would like to thank you very much for taking the job as a juror seriously. I know it was a very difficult task to take on and we all appreciate it tremendously. Please know that along with you 6 that GOT IT during this trial, there were 11 more that GOT IT in the first trial. And it took those 11 only 1 hour to come to their decision. What was important to us is that he NEVER be given the opportunity to do this to another family. ( And I have NO DOUBT he would have. Anyone that young and to be so evil....I KNOW he would do it again.) So the fact that you recommend 320 years far outweighs the murder 2. We would have been devastated with another hung jury. As a family, the trials are so hard to go through. It feels good to end this whole judicial nightmare and to end it on high note. It took 2 years and countless court appearances but we FINALLY feel some justice. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

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