Ask MRN: Why weren’t people involved in beating death at Hannibal bar charged with hate crimes?

Hannibal beating death

Top row from left, Jason Anderson, Tiara Bonner and Kaelin Rickey. Bottom row from left, Jordan Payne, Thomas Payne and Todd Haynes. | Photos courtesy of Hannibal Police Department

Dear MRN, 

I’ve been reading about all the arrests made in connection to the death of that man in Hannibal. Why weren’t those people charged with hate crimes? 

First, let’s review the crime.

A probable cause statement from the Hannibal Police Department Police indicated officers reported at around 1:50 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, to the 100 block of North Main to investigate an assault outside Rumors Bar and Grill. Upon arrival, officers found a male victim, Dusty Wilson, 49, of Hannibal, on Main Street with substantial head trauma. Wilson was transported to Hannibal Regional Hospital and later to a trauma center in Columbia, Mo., where he died from his injuries.

Six people have been arrested in connection to the investigation of Wilson’s death, and all are in the Marion County Jail.

Tiara T. Bonner, 26, of Hannibal, and Jason D. Anderson, 24, of Hannibal both face second-degree murder charges.

Thomas D.C. Payne, 29, of Hannibal and Jordan A. Payne, 27, of Hannibal both face first-degree assault charges. 

Kaelin Leslie Rickey, 26, of Hannibal faces a second-degree murder charge.

Todd C. Haynes Jr., 22, of Hannibal faces a first-degree assault charge.

All six have been charged with Class A felonies. The sentencing range is no less than 10 years and not more than 30 years, or life imprisonment.

Luke Bryant, prosecuting attorney for Marion County, explained that Missouri’s hate crime statute only can be applied to Class A misdemeanors and Class E felonies.

“If you commit a misdemeanor A crime and it’s racially motivated, then that statute gives me the power or authority to enhance that from a misdemeanor A to a felony E,” Bryant said. “If you commit a crime that’s a felony E, and it’s racially motivated, I can enhance that to a felony D. The hate crime statute can’t be applied to the charges I filed (in the Wilson case). We can’t enhance that any more.”

Bryant said he received between six and eight calls and Facebook messages from people asking why the hate crime statute wasn’t applied.

“People have been really apologetic (after learning about the statute),” Bryant said. “Everybody’s running on high emotion. I totally understand that.”

Examples of Class E felonies in Missouri include, but are not limited to:

  • 1st-degree harassment
  • 1st-degree stalking
  • 1st-degree property damage
  • 2nd-degree manslaughter
  • 3rd-degree domestic assault
  • 4th-degree domestic assault (2nd or subsequent offense)
  • 3rd-degree assault
  • Ethics violation by elected official or lobbyist (2nd offense)
  • Counterfeiting
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • Knowingly resell any donated prescription drug
  • Receipt of drugs from an unlicensed distributor or pharmacy
  • Failure to appear (felony)
  • DWI (persistent)

Examples of Class A misdemeanors in Missouri include, but are not limited to:

  • 4th degree assault 
  • 4th degree domestic assault
  • DUI (repeat offender)
  • Passing bad checks
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (repeat offender)
  • Possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana (with a prior conviction) or more than 10 grams but less than 35 grams of marijuana
  • Resisting or interfering with an arrest
  • Unlawful distribution, delivery or sale of drug paraphernalia
  • Unlawful use of weapons

Class E felonies in Missouri carry a term of no more than four years, a fine of up to $10,000 or a combination of the two. Class A misdemeanors in Missouri carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or a combination of the two. The range of punishment for a Class D felony is up to seven years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine or accommodation.

The FBI released in August 2021 nationwide statistics on hate crimes reported in 2020. Nationwide, there were 7,759 incidents, the highest in 12 years. There were 115 reported hate crime incidents in Missouri, the highest in nine years.

The number of hate crimes in Missouri for the last 10 years:

  • 2020: 115
  • 2019: 89
  • 2018: 66
  • 2017: 104
  • 2016: 89
  • 2015: 100
  • 2014: 76
  • 2013: 105
  • 2012: 104
  • 2011: 121
  • 2010: 142

The Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines hate crime as a committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a:

  • race
  • religion
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • gender identity

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