JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – The fate of eight is now known of nine people charged in the August 2020 Kidnapping and Murder of Sarah Pasco, 27, of Aurora.
In a change of venue to Jasper County, Siera Dunham, 20, pleaded guilty recently to Kidnapping. She will serve 15 years for her part in the crimes. She also recently pleaded guilty to an unrelated case of stealing from May 2020. She was sentenced five years for that crime. These are unrelated cases, so they run consecutively.
Frank Sheridan, 29, had his case moved to Stone County. Of the 9 originally charged First Degree Murder he was released in January of 2022 on his own recognizance (OR). He agreed to testify against the other defendants. It is anticipated he will receive a Suspended Imposition of Sentence of 15 years.
Steven Calverley, 31, of Republic is the final defendant facing Murder in the First Degree. His case is set for three-week jury trial beginning at 8:00 a.m. on January 16, 2024 in Christian County Court. He requested to wear civilian clothes during the trial. Calverley still could face the death penalty, however it is according to the severance if found guilty in the first charge of Murder in the First Degree.
2020 MURDER AND KIDNAPPING
Prosecutors have said the nine were a local gang in the Lawrence County area.
The surviving victim says she and Sarah Pasco were thrown into a well. She was hiding under Pasco while Gary Hunter fired into the well, killing Pasco. She says she was shot while inside the well and played dead until they left.
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- 4th person sentenced in 2020 Lawrence County murder
COURT DOCUMENTS LAY OUT THE CRIMES
Court documents lay out details in the August 2020 southwest Missouri murder involving 9 suspects.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects are connected to the shooting death of Sarah C. Pasco, 27, of Aurora and the non-fatal shooting of another woman.
On August 16, 2020 at around 10:14 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office got a call about shots fired. Deputies arrived to the location and found Victim 1 who had been shot multiple times. She was airlifted in critical condition, and later was able to speak with detectives at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
Deputies say the woman told them her friend had been killed at another location in Lawrence County. After a search, Pasco’s body was found.
The surviving victim and some of the suspects have spoken to investigators about the crime.
Detectives say the incident started at the Pavilion at Mt. Vernon St. and Center S. in Stotts City in Lawrence County, Missouri. They believe that’s where Gary Hunter walked up to a truck driven by Victim 1 and asked if he could get in. Victim 1 allowed him in and once inside, he put a pistol up to Pasco’s head (Victim 2). Hunter allegedly told them to drive to the home of Christina Knapp. Once there, Hunter told Knapp to get his AR/AK type firearm, which she did.
Hunter allegedly ordered both victims out of the truck, but they refused. Court documents state that Pasco argued with Hunter, but after he fired a shot into Victim 1’s truck, they both did as he said and got out of the truck.
Andrew Cypert, who lives on Knapp’s property, came over to where the victims were digging grave holes in Knapp’s yard, according to investigators. Hunter handed the gun to Cypert and went inside to get a .22 to “cap them.”
Court documents state that Victim 1 told detectives that Sierra Dunham was there during the incident. She says Dunham wanted Pasco’s sunglasses, so Hunter took them and gave them to Dunham. Also, as the victims were getting into the trunk of Cypret’s vehicle, Dunham said she wanted the shoes that Pasco had on her feet, but Hunter told her “no” because Pasco was going to need them where they were going. Once the victims were in the trunk, Hunter allegedly took the shoes off Pasco and gave them to Dunham.
During an interview with Cypert, he told detectives that he drove a Toyota Corolla with both victims in the trunk, following Hunter who was in Victim 1’s pickup. Cypert stated that Lyle Delong, Diona Parks and Steven Calverley were in the car with him. They went out to [LOCATION] and stopped. When the trunk opened, Cypert told detectives that Parks got out and had a physical altercation with one of the victims in the trunk.
Hunter got Victim 1 and Pasco out of the trunk. Court documents state that Hunter then told Delong, Parks and Cypert to take the truck and go, which they did.
Cypret claims he got a call from Hunter saying, “I need you to light up the truck or you are really going to screw me.” Cypret relayed the message to Delong and Parks. That’s when Delong started looking for something to put into the gas reservoir of the truck. Cypret says he took his shirt off and gave it to Delong,who then used Parks’ lighter and lit the shirt on fire to burn the truck.
According to Victim 1, she and Pasco were told to get into an abandoned well. She said a man named Gary stated to them, “Where is [GIRL’S NAME]?” Pasco told Gary she didn’t know and he replied, “You can thank [GIRL’S NAME].” Gary then shot Pasco in the head, killing her, according to Victim 1.
Victim 1 says she was hiding under Pasco while Gary was firing into the well, according to court documents. She says she was shot while inside the well and played dead until Gary and the other person left. She also told a detective that while at the well, she remembered seeing Dunham with Pasco’s sunglasses on her head.
Investigators say they also discovered that Kimberly Henderson, Cypret’s mother, was also at [LOCATION] during the incident. Court documents state she picked up some keys from Knapp’s vehicle bumper. When she asked who they belonged to, Victim 1 said they were hers. Henderson then allegedly took the keys and put them in Hunter’s shirt pocket and said, “You’re going to be needing these.”
Frank Sheridan, who was in a relationship with Sierra Dunham, was also allegedly at [LOCATION], bandaging Hunter’s wound that he got earlier in the day.
According to court documents, authorities were told that Sheridan and Dunham both rode in Victim 1’s vehicle to the well where the women were shot.
In an interview with Dunham, she admitted she was there that day. Investigators took her shoes as evidence.
The Dade County Sheriff’s Office arrested three of the suspects and also found the stolen vehicle, which they say had been partially burned.
By Thursday evening, Aug. 20, 2020 all 9 suspects were in custody. These reflect original charges in 2020 and suspects ages at that time, now updated with status:
- PLEADED: Gary W. Hunter, Jr., 23, Mt. Vernon – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- CHARGED: Steven C. Calverley. 29, Republic – Murder 1st Degree, 1st Degree Assault, Tampering with Evidence
- PLEADED: Lyle B. Delong – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- PLEADED: Andrew J. Cypret – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- PLEADED: Diona L. Parks – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- RELEASED ON OR BOND: Frank J. Sheridan, 27, Aurora – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- PLEADED: Kimberly K. Henderson, 47, Stotts City – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- PLEADED: Siera Dunham – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
- PLEADED: Christina Knapp – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
This is a developing story, stay with KOAM News Now as we continue to follow this case and determine what will happen to the final defendant. Scroll below and sign up for our news alerts so you don’t miss an article.