CLAYTON, Mo. — Thomas Bruce, the man charged in the deadly Catholic Supply shooting, faced a judge for the first time Monday morning.
Bruce, 53, was charged with 17 counts, including first-degree murder and sodomy.
Bruce was escorted into a courtroom in Clayton first. He wore a khaki jail uniform and was handcuffed.
Bruce sat by quietly by himself for a short time with his head down before the other suspects who had court appearances were brought in.
The judge read off all 17 charges to Bruce in court and then asked if he had talked with a lawyer. Bruce said he had not. The judge asked if he would like a public defender, and Bruce said yes.
Because of the charges, Bruce is not eligible for bond.
His next court date was scheduled for next Wednesday, Dec. 5.
St. Louis County prosecutors allege the Navy veteran from Imperial, Mo. forced three women at gunpoint to undress inside a back room of the religious store in west St. Louis County and demanded they perform sexual acts on him.
According to charging documents, when Jamie Schmidt, 53, refused, Bruce shot and killed her before fleeing the scene.
But Bruce was later apprehended by law enforcement at his home early Wednesday morning.
In all, he was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary, one count of tampering with evidence and eight counts of armed criminal action.
5 On Your Side dove into Thomas Bruce's background.
He had absolutely no criminal record that we could find, although prosecutors say they are checking national databases to confirm that.
He filed bankruptcy a couple times, which appears to be the most trouble he's been in.
St. Louis County police have told us several times he did not know the woman killed in this case.
A memorial for Jamie Schmidt continues to grow outside Catholic Supply. The store on Manchester remains closed, but two other local locations have since reopened.
Schmidt was the mother of three and married to her high school sweetheart. Her sister-in-law described Schmidt as a soft-spoken, modest, faithful Christian and very kind person.
Schmidt attended St. Anthony of Padua church in High Ridge for more than three decades. She sang in the choir and helped paint some of the gospel symbols on the church.
Schmidt was also an administrator at St. Louis Community College in Wildwood.