ST. LOUIS COUNTY – St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell confirmed to 5 On Your Side Friday he will not seek the death penalty in the Catholic Supply murder case.
“These are horrific crimes. I will use all the resources of the State of Missouri and my office to see it that the person who killed Jamie Schmidt and violently sexually assaulted two other victims at the Catholic Supply Store will spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole,” Bell said.
The decision has the support of the Schmidt family, according to a deacon from their church in High Ridge, Missouri.
Jim G'Sell from St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church said Schmidt's widower, Greg, believes Bruce needs to live knowing what he did.
"The death penalty would be too generous and too easy. He needs to suffer the consequences of the actions he took on my wife and the two other women," G'Sell said of behalf of Greg.
In November 2018, Thomas Bruce, a 53-year-old man from Imperial, Missouri was charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of sodomy and three counts of armed criminal action in connection with the Catholic Supply murder and sexual assaults.
Bell, through a spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed further about his decision.
However, he talked with 5 On Your Side exclusively late last year about his position on the death penalty and the Catholic Supply case.
Bell campaign on being opposed to capital punishment, arguing it unfairly affects the poor and minorities.
"In addition to that, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars. Keep in mind, when you're talking about the death penalty, you're talking about a 20 year process. It's no fast as many people have said or would like," he said.
5 On Your Side asked Bell at the time if he would ever make an exception. He declined to answer, but said the Catholic Supply case angered him.
"On a personal level, that case angers me. And on a personal level, I would like to do it myself if I could. But from a public policy standpoint, it can't be about revenge. It has to be about justice," he said.