Updated Dec. 19, 2007
The story of Jeffrey Gardner, a young man sentenced to prison for shooting an abusive husband who was threatening his wife with a knife. After the printing of this story, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, on March 2, 1999, overturned the conviction of Gardner -- who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting. Gardner was a boarder in the couple's home at the time of the shooting. On Dec. 7, 1999, the Missouri Supreme Court did overturn the appellate court opinion. Gardner is serving his sentence at the state penitentiary in Jefferson City, Mo. Click here to read the Missouri Supreme Court decision.
by J.J. Maloney
Carol Drummond could feel feel the noose tightening around her throat.
For more than five years the 38-year-old Belton resident had been stalked, threatened and vilified by the friends of Phillip Hancock, her late husband.
In August, 1991, Drummond called police after Hancock threatened her with a bayonet. In December, 1991, the 6-foot-2-inch Hancock hurled Drummond to the ground, breaking her collarbone because her dog had urinated on the floor. A judge ordered Hancock to stay away from Drummond.
Hancock then lived with a friend, Mark Lassince, until he made up with Drummond and moved back in with her, in January, 1992. Also living in the house were Jeffrey Wayne Gardner, an attractive, soft-spoken, 28-year-old boarder, and Jackie, the 8 year old daughter of Hancock and Drummond (she kept her own name after the marriage).
In the early afternoon of March 7, 1992, Hancock called the Belton police and talked with the dispatcher. Hancock wanted police to eject Gardner from his house. The dispatcher explained that, since Drummond was half-owner of the house, if she wanted Gardner to stay, there was nothing the police could do. Gardner asked if the police would come over and take Gardner's gun away from him. Hancock said he feared Gardner and Drummond would plant the gun on him, to get his probation revoked. The dispatcher said there was nothing the police could do about Gardner's gun, either. Hancock expressed bitterness, saying he was, "screwed, I don't have any rights."