By Echo Menges
The details leading up to the shooting death of William “Bill” Bacon, 67, of rural Novelty on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 are, at this point, sketchy at best. Law enforcement officials have remained tight lipped about the investigation.
“Since it is an ongoing investigation we really can’t release a lot of information,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control representative Sgt. J. Erik Eidson. “We don’t want to jeopardize anything with the case.”
The prosecution and defense attorney’s are also tight vested in regards to the details surrounding the murder case recently opened against Bacon’s neighbor, 58-year-old Glenn Head.
These are the details we have been able to piece together, so far, of events leading up to the shooting and pertaining to the property dispute both neighbors were embroiled in.
According to the Knox County Commissioner’s Regular Meeting Minutes dated November 16 and 30, 2012, both Head and Bacon had been in to see the Commissioners regarding the closure or abandonment of a county road, which the Knox County Clerk, Marlene Spory, and all three Commissioners, Evan Glasgow, Terry “Red” Callahan and Terry Marble, have confirmed.
The most basic explanation for their visits with the commissioners is that the county road in question, No. 341, cut through property owned by Bacon and was being accessed by Head, which caused a rift between the two neighbors.
Bacon was under the impression the road was closed by the county years ago and the land reverted back to his family, which would have made it his private property.
Head was under the understanding the road still belonged to the county, which gave him access to it.
“The Bacon family had a petition [to close the road] and that’s as far as it went,” said Knox County Presiding Commissioner, Evan Glasgow. “It was never closed. It’s still a county road. It’s an abandoned road. All that means is it’s still on our books, but we can’t afford to maintain it. It can still legally be accessed.”
“We went through everything and we got [Knox County Collector] Brent Karhoff and he got a 1938 plat book and map out, and we talked to [Knox County Recorder] Sandy Woods and there was nothing recorded with the court. They started it but never finished it,” said Knox County Eastern District Commissioner Terry “Red” Callahan.
“I couldn’t find anywhere where it has been officially closed,” said Knox County Western District Commissioner Terry Marble. “It hadn’t happened while I was in and I’ve been there 20 years.”
According to Callahan during the November 16 meeting Bill Bacon had with the commissioners Bacon did say to the group that he was going to “shoot” Glenn Head.
“What he said was, when he walked in the door, he said, I’m gonna shoot this guy and I wanna find out if I’m right,” said Callahan. “That’s what he said word for word. I said, no Bill you don’t wanna do nothing like that. I came out from behind the desk to tell him, my gosh, you don’t wanna do nothing like that.”
According to Callahan, when Bacon made those comments to the Commissioners, about shooting Head, he didn’t seem angry or agitated and was “calm” during their meeting so those comments were not taken literally by Callahan.
Callahan also pointed out Head met with the Commissioners the same day and was not behaving in an angry or agitated manner either.
“I didn’t think anything about it because there wasn’t any ranting and raving going on,” said Callahan. “We never thought it would have ever come to this.”
Glasgow, Marble and Spory have all gone on record saying they either didn’t know or don’t remember Bacon uttering those words or anything about shooting Head while he was in the Commissioner’s office that day.
Sources have expressed to the Sentinel that several calls were made to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office by either party pertaining to the neighbors’ dispute, but the KCSO is not releasing information regarding any calls they received in the weeks and months prior to the shooting by either Head or Bacon, due to the ongoing investigation.
These are the details we have been able to piece together about the shooting of Bill Bacon on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.
According to a KCSO representative, Bacon called the Sheriff’s office regarding a “trespasser” on his property at 2:59 p.m. that afternoon.
At 3:12 p.m. Head called the Sheriff’s office to report the shooting.
It is not clear when law enforcement officials arrived on the scene of the shooting because, so far, that information is not being released.
According to the probable cause statement written by DDCC investigator Amanda Sapp and filed by Knox County Assistant Prosecutor, Jo Fortney, in the case against Head, after the Sheriff, Mike Kite, and MSHP Trooper, Craig Reichert, arrived on the scene of the shooting they found Bacon lying on the ground with a gun shot wound in his chest. Bacon was alive at the time and Head reported to them “he had shot Bacon following an altercation.”
It is not known what type of gun was used in the shooting because that information is not being released.
Sources have confirmed to The Edina Sentinel that Bacon was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
According to the Knox County Coroner, Jeff Doss, Bacon was pronounced dead at 4:46 p.m. at the Kirksville Regional Medical Center.
According to the probable cause statement, Head was subsequently arrested in the death of Bacon and placed on a 24-hold pending the filing of formal charges.
At around the same time investigators were probably learning Bacon had not survived this reporter was arriving at what is believed to be the scene of the shooting in southwest Knox County, in the vicinity of County Road No. 341.
It was approximately 5:15 p.m. Contact was made with DDCC investigator Sapp who was standing on the west side of a cluster of vehicles parked in a tilled field.
Sapp immediately said no more pictures were to be taken and would not comment about the investigation being conducted behind her or the nature of what they were doing there, nor did she know who to contact for answers to such questions. Sapp would only confirm that DDCC was assisting KCSO on an “investigation.”
At that time daylight was fading fast. Law enforcement officers were observed surrounding a green tractor on the east side of the restricted area. Several flashlights could be seen shining around and into the tractor.
No information has been released concerning the tractor, who it belongs to or why investigators were searching it.
The following day, on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Head, who was in the custody of the Adair County Jail, was charged with murder in the second degree and armed criminal action by the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office. And was subsequently kept in custody on a $250,000 cash only bond.
The same day it was learned that Head served as a police officer for the St. Louis Metro Police Department. SLMPD Director of Public Information, David Marzullo, released a statement saying, “Police Officer Glenn Head was employed by the SLMPD from September 1977 through October 1988, at which time he received an accidental disability retirement. These are the only available records.”
We also learned that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted a story on their website linking Head to another shooting in 1985.
According to the story, Head shot and seriously injured a 16-year-old after a short police chase in the city while he and another officer were trying to arrest several teens in a stolen car. Head said at the time the boy had pointed something at him and he shot at the teen after seeing a flash and hearing a pop. The teen was shot in the hip. No gun was ever recovered.
We have attempted to obtain more information concerning the 1985 shooting, but were unable to through SLMPD. Marzullo responded to our request for information about the 1985 shooting with this statement: The only records we are allowed to provide regarding Mr. Head was what we had sent out prior.
On Thursday, December 13, 2012 Head was taken from the Adair County Jail to the Adair County Courthouse where he went before Knox County Associate Judge William E. Alberty for an arraignment.
He entered the small courtroom quietly wearing a bright orange inmate’s jacket over an orange and white inmate’s uniform, slippers and handcuffs linked to a chain wrapped around his waste.
During the proceedings Head’s attorney, Charlie James, of St. Peters, Missouri, motioned for a reduction of the $250,000 cash only bond required to get Head out of jail.
“If he is released would he stay at his home in [Novelty]? Would he be safe?” Judge Alberty asked the councilors, Fortney and James. Judge Alberty went on to say that the court would not object if Head were to go stay with family elsewhere in Missouri.
“You live in a pretty remote area and we don’t want any more problems,” said Judge Alberty.
The bond amount was not reduced during the arraignment, but Judge Alberty did agree to allow Head to post a “property bond” which is real-estate valued at $250,000 in lieu of cash.
Head's demeanor throughout the proceedings was alert, calm and quiet. He was soft spoken during the proceedings and repeated the words several times throughout, “If that’s what I need to do I’ll do it.”
Bond stipulations were discussed among the attorneys and Judge. The stipulations of Head’s release agreed upon by the Judge included having no contact with the family of Bacon, not being in possession of a firearm and not returning to the scene of the shooting along with the standard conditions of a bond release.
An official plea to the charges against Head will not be submitted to the court until the case is bound over to Knox County Circuit Court, which could take several weeks, maybe even a few months, before it appears on the Knox County Circuit Court docket. For now he is due back in Knox County Associate Court on January 29, 2012, but that date is expected to change depending on the schedules of the Judge and attorneys involved in the case.
After the arraignment had concluded Head was quietly led out of the courtroom and courthouse and escorted back to the jail.
Following the proceedings Head’s attorney posted the property bond in Knox County. And, while in Edina, Charlie James agreed to an exclusive interview with The Edina Sentinel.
The first matter James addressed concerning his client was the 1985 shooting in St. Louis.
“My information is that he’s been resolved of any wrong doing from that case,” said James. “There was a routine investigation, as there is whenever a shooting and a police officer is involved, and that investigation absolved him of any wrong doing because he continued his career as a police officer. The shooting was in his line of duty.”
About the murder case, James wasn’t willing to release much information, but did state, “From the information I have I strongly believe the evidence is going to show that Mr. Head acted in self defense and had reason to fear for his life at the time he acted.”
James also stated, “The public won’t know the whole story until the trial. That’s just the nature of the trial.”
It was also expressed that no plans had been made to motion the court for a change of venue in the case.
“We will be very comfortable having a Knox County Jury decide this case,” said James. “We believe we’ve got a very fair trial here.”
Head was released from the Adair County Jail just before 2:00 p.m. that afternoon, Thursday, December 13, nearly 47 hours after the original call was made.
Upon his release he was met by an emotional hug from his son. His attorney, and a close friend of the family also met him outside the jail.
On Saturday evening, December 15, 2012, the family and friends of Bill Bacon paid their last respects to their relative and friend at the Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home in Edina. The family he left behind includes his three sons and their mother, several grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Several questions remain about the events that lead up to and the shooting itself the investigators and attorneys will try to keep under wraps until the trial of Glenn Head.
Talk has been swirling throughout the county about physical and verbal fights the two men had with each other the day of the shooting, the week prior to the shooting and beyond. Questions have also arisen about the involvement of the KCSO and their response, or lack of, to calls made by either party for assistance relating to the dispute.
It also remains unknown why Head would be armed going into a volatile situation.
Nonetheless, the prospect of finding satisfactory answers to why or how a petty argument between neighbors became deadly may never come, even in the months and years this case is expected to drag on.
The quiet community of Novelty has been rocked to the core by Bacon’s unexpected death and the tragic dispute between neighbors. Many have commented on the unfortunate argument over a mere sliver of land, compared to the large amount of property owned by both parties, that has left one man dead and another fighting for his freedom.
The Edina Sentinel wishes to express our deepest condolences to all the loved ones, family members and community members touched by this tragic event throughout Knox County and beyond.
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at 5:40 p.m.