VERDICT: Head found not guilty in second-degree murder trial

Glenn Head, center, is shown outside the Randolph County Courthouse after the jury in his second-degree murder trial began deliberating. (H-W Photo/Don O'Brien)
Posted: Apr. 11, 2014 11:51 am Updated: Apr. 25, 2014 12:14 pm
Glenn Head, center left, embraces his daughter, Glenna, on Friday after he was found not guilty of second-degree murder at the Randolph County Courthouse in Moberly, Mo. (H-W Photo/Don O'Brien)
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

UPDATE: Glenn Head has been found not guilty of second-degree murder after a weeklong trial at the Randolph County Courthouse in Moberly, Mo. We'll continue to update this story.

Here's the story we published just after the jury began deliberating at 10:33 a.m. Friday:

MOBERLY, Mo. — Tim Anderson made a reference to the 1987 movie “The Untouchables” when speaking to the jury hearing the second-degree murder case of Glenn Head.

“You’ve heard the term ‘bringing a knife to a gun fight,’ ” said Anderson, an assistant Attorney General who is leading the prosecution’s case against Head. “In this case, Bill Bacon brought a camera and a tape recorder to a gun fight.”

The jury, made up of nine men and three women, began its deliberations at 10:33 a.m. Friday in the basement of the Randolph County Courthouse and will decide if Head acted in self defense when he shot and killed Bacon after a dispute on Dec. 11, 2012. Head was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He faces between 10 and 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections if convicted of the charges.

Anderson and Head’s attorney, Charlie James, made one last pitch to the jury Friday morning.

Anderson said Head had no reason to fear Bacon. The two had been part of a dispute over a road that was on Bacon’s property. Bacon believed the road was private, since it was on his land. Head and others said the road was a public access road and was part of Knox County Road 341.

Anderson said Bacon had been taking the proper legal steps to deal with the status of the road, as well as his contention that others were trespassing on his land when they used the road.

“You never heard that Bill Bacon was seriously violent,” Anderson said. “Bill Bacon always instructed people to obey the property line. He tried to be a good neighbor but might not have always been the most friendly guy. They can’t kill you for not being a friendly guy.”

Anderson questioned why no tape was found in the tape recorder that Bacon was carrying on the day of the shooting.

“Why take a tape recorder if you’re not going to use it?” Anderson said. “What better way for Bill Bacon to talk to you than by listening to that tape?”

Head testified that he patted down Bacon after he shot him. He said he was looking for a cell phone to call for help when he found the recorder on Bacon. He denied taking a tape out of the recorder. Police searched the area twice but could never find a tape.

James asked that the jury come back with a not guilty verdict.

“This is a case that you will remember for the rest of your lives,” James said to the jury. “It’s highly unlikely that you will sit in judgment of another case like this.”

James said that the police erred by arresting Head before starting their investigation. He said the prosecution and police didn’t care about finding out the entire story that surrounded the incident.

“This is a career-building case for them,” James said. “I believe in the jury system. The jury is the only thing that can combat the far-reaching powers of the government.”

James said Head had a right to protect himself that day, calling his actions reasonable.

“What is the conceal-carry law for if you’re not able to protect yourself?” James said. “(Bacon) was not a reasonable man when he got upset. (Head) was attacked and was under the threat of great bodily injury.”

Given the last word before the jury started its deliberations, Anderson asked the jury to use its common sense when the started to decide the case.

He asked the jury to remember that Head changed his story several times. He pointed out an instance during Thursday’s testimony where Head mentioned for the first time that Bacon said he was going to kill Head during their fateful altercation.

“That’s the first time he had ever said that to anyone,” Anderson said. “Head said (Bacon) said, ‘I’m going to kill you, Glenn Head.’ He had never told anyone that before. Why? Because it never happened.

“Bill Bacon can’t speak other than showing us the last things he saw on this Earth before he was killed, which is shown on his camera. … Listen to Bill Bacon’s voice from beyond the grave through his pictures.”

The courtroom was as full Friday morning as it had been all week. More supporters of both men added to the cramped quarters inside the courthouse. No fewer than three Randolph County Sheriff’s deputies have been in the courtroom at all times.

Through the first four days of the trial, the sides combined to call 28 witnesses and enter more than 175 items into evidence.

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