Missouri inmate facing execution next month is hospitalized with heart problem

A Missouri inmate who is weeks away from execution is in a hospital after suffering what a Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman described as a “medical emergency."

Jim Salter
Friday 17 May 2024 15:09 BST
Missouri Execution Hosier
Missouri Execution Hosier

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Louise Thomas

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A Missouri inmate who is due to be executed next month has been hospitalized because of a “medical emergency,” a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Corrections said.

David Hosier, 69, is scheduled to be put to death June 11 for killing a Jefferson City couple, Angela and Rodney Gilpin, in 2009. His attorney, Jeremy Weis, said a prison doctor diagnosed Hosier with heart failure this week. Hosier's sister, Barbara Morrill, said he has atrial fibrillation, which causes an irregular heartbeat.

Morrill said her brother fell ill about a week and ago and has gotten worse, with leg swelling and severe pain. She wondered why it took so long to move him out of his cell.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” she said. “He can’t walk. He can barely talk.”

Karen Pojmann, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, said she could not release further information, citing privacy requirements.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the medical problem could postpone the execution. Hosier has always maintained his innocence, but police and prosecutors say the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Hosier is the son of a murder victim — a police officer killed in the line of duty. Indiana State Police Sergeant Glen Hosier was fatally shot by a murder suspect in 1971, when David Hosier was 16. Other officers killed the gunman.

On the night of his father's shooting, David Hosier was awakened to find a trooper at his bedside. “I heard mom downstairs crying and when that happens, you know what it usually means,” he recalled in an interview with The Associated Press last week, before he became ill.

Hosier was sent to military school and later joined the Navy, where he spent four years in active duty. He was visiting his sister in Missouri in the late 1970s, met a woman who would become his first wife, and they settled in Jefferson City. He worked for several years as an EMT and firefighter.

Hosier acknowledged that in 2009, he had an affair with Angela Gilpin. She ended it and reconciled with her husband. Not long after that, in September 2009, they were shot to death near the doorway of their apartment.

Hosier said he didn't do it.

"How can you find a person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and sentence that person to die when you have no witnesses to a crime, you have no fingerprints to tie this person to a crime, you have no DNA that ties this person to a crime?” Hosier asked.

Court records and investigators point to significant circumstantial evidence.

“He (Hosier) was involved romantically with the victim,” said Randy Dampf, who was a Jefferson City police officer at the time of the killings and now works as an investigator for the county prosecutor. “She had wanted to break off the relationship and he was angry about that."

Detective Jason Miles said Hosier made numerous comments to other people threatening to harm Angela Gilpin in the days before the killings. Police found an application for a protective order in Angela Gilpin’s purse, and another document in which she expressed fear that Hosier might shoot her and her husband.

“I am totally convinced of his involvement in this case and I think all of the evidence supports that,” Miles said.

Hosier was an immediate suspect, but police couldn't find him. They used cellphone data to track Hosier to Oklahoma. A chase ensued when an Oklahoma officer tried to stop Hosier's car. When he got out, he told the officers, “Shoot me, and get it over with,” court records show.

Officers found 15 guns, a bulletproof vest, 400 rounds of ammunition and other weapons in Hosier’s car. Among the weapons was a submachine gun, made from a kit, that investigators determined was used in the killings.

A note was found in the front seat of Hosier’s vehicle. “If you are going with someone do not lie to them,” it read in part. “Be honest with them if there is something wrong. If you do not this could happen to YOU!!”

Hosier said he wasn't fleeing to Oklahoma, but was simply on a long drive to clear his mind. He had lots of guns because he likes to hunt, he said. He didn't recall a note in the car.

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 2019.

Hosier's spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeff Hood, said the law enforcement community is known for standing with families of fallen officers. They should do the same now for Hosier, he said.

“The difficulties of David’s life are a product of having to experience the death of his father in the line of duty,” Hood said. “How can they say, ‘Leave no family member of the fallen behind,’ and cheer on the execution of David Hosier?”

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