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Cold case unit brings charges against woman in 2004 Jefferson County homicide

Deputies found James Summers’ body on April 27, 2004 on the driveway of his home in the Dittmer area. His live-in girlfriend, Alice Weiss, is now charged with murder

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — A Missouri family is a step closer to justice for their loved one who was found shot to death on a Jefferson County driveway 17 years ago.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced his office’s cold case unit has charged Allice P. Weiss with second-degree murder for the shooting death of her live-in boyfriend, James Summers.

Deputies found Summers’ body the evening of April 27, 2004 on the driveway of his home in the Dittmer area. He had been shot in the back and his face.

Jefferson County deputies questioned Weiss, who Schmitt said gave several inconsistent statements and stories.

Weiss first told deputies she was in the shower when she heard a gunshot, according to the probable cause statement. Deputies recreated whether it was possible to hear the .22 caliber handgun firing from the bathroom but found the sound to be barely audible.

“It would be incredibly difficult to recognize the sounds of gunfire unless you knew exactly what to listen to,” Schmitt said Thursday.

Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Wise said the gun belonged to her and that she stored it in a closet unloaded. When deputies went to take a gunshot residue swab on her hands, they said she tried to stall and go to the bathroom. When deputies refused to let her use the restroom, they said she changed her story to say she fired the gun earlier in the day, “apparently for the first time in 20 years,” Schmitt noted.

Gunshot residue was found on Weiss’ robe, but she had told deputies she wasn’t wearing it when she shot the gun.

Credit: KSDK

Cold case investigators also used testimony from Weiss’ cousin. He said on the ride home from the sheriff’s office the day after Summers’ death that Weiss told him she messed up her story with the deputies.

The cousin also recalled a conversation with her from back in 2008. He said while they were shopping in Walmart she told him that even if she was charged with murder that she could blame it on her father since he was dead. Weiss’ father was suffering from late-stage dementia at the time of the shooting and was the only other person in the house; he couldn’t provide a statement or recount the events, given his condition. He had since passed away.

Weiss, who now appears to live in Columbia, Missouri, was charged with the crime Wednesday, 17 years after Summers’ death. A judge ordered her to be held without bond.

Weiss' lawyer sent a statement to 5 On Your Side after the cold case unit's announcement.

“My client, Ms. Weiss, firmly maintains her innocence. The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office chose not to file charges 17 years ago for a reason. I have every expectation that the circumstantial evidence portrayed at today’s unusual and theatrical press conference will prove to be misleading," attorney John Schleiffarth wrote.

Schmitt cited a cooperative effort between his team and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. He said having a fresh set of eyes on the case along with the resources of the attorney general’s office will help bring justice for Summers’ family.

“The passage of time does not in any way diminish the importance of this case and others we are currently investigating. Mr. Summers’ daughter still deserves justice for her father,” Schmitt said.

The cold case unit was launched in December 2020. This is the second investigation that has led to charges. The first involved a 35-year-old homicide in Washington, Missouri.

READ MORE: Man charged in 1986 Franklin County cold case murder of woman

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