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Man who murdered boss after getting fired from Florissant children's home sentenced

Christopher Owens was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Brantley Tate, who was his supervisor at Marygrove Children’s Home in Florissant.
Credit: KSDK

FLORISSANT, Mo. — A St. Louis County man will spend the rest of his life behind bars in the fatal shooting of his boss at a children’s home last year.

Christopher Owens reached a plea agreement with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder and armed criminal action – he was originally charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Brantley Tate.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Owens was sentenced to life in prison for the second-degree murder charge, and 15 years for the armed criminal action charge; the two terms will be served consecutively.

Owens confessed to shooting and killing Tate on Jan. 26, 2021.

Credit: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

Tate was Owens’ immediate supervisor at the Marygrove Children’s Home in Florissant. Investigators said Owens had been fired after walking off the job a few days prior. In retaliation, he said he shot Tate while retrieving his personal items from the center.

Credit: Catholic Charities of St. Louis
Brantley 'Brant' Tate

Tate’s family members were able to express the grief they’ve faced every day since their loved one was killed.

“Brant was the kindest and most generous man I have ever known, and he loved me so much,” Tate’s widow tearfully said. “My heart mostly hurts that he died before he could teach our son everything a man is supposed to know.”

Their son is about to graduate from high school, the prosecutor’s office said in a Wednesday news release.

“There are so many things I wish I could say to him, that I wish I could learn,” he said, “and I don’t get to give him that news and hear him say, ‘I’m proud of you, son.’”

Tate also left behind two stepdaughters. One of them addressed the court in person to say she still reaches for her cell phone to call her stepdad. She said she still has nightmares about the murder.

Tate’s other stepdaughter appeared via videoconference and recalled standing on his feet as they danced at a father-daughter dance. The prosecutor’s office said she stated that her stepdad’s murder was “pointless.”

“And I will be angry for the rest of my life,” she said.

“I can only imagine the pain the Tate family has experienced, but our office is proud we were at least able bring them some semblance of justice with a guilty plea and a life sentence for the man who took their loved one away from them,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell.

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