KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former Missouri jail guard has been convicted of convincing her terminally ill father to fatally shoot her estranged husband with whom she was embroiled in a custody dispute before killing himself so it appeared to be a murder-suicide, prosecutors said Thursday.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office made the announcement five days after jurors found Elizabeth Kilgore guilty of first-degree murder, introducing a dangerous instrument into a county jail, acceding to corruption and possession of methamphetamine. Sentencing is set for April.
Prosecutors said 77-year-old Charles Sander killed his son-in-law, Lance Kilgore, and himself in September 2018 during what was supposed to be a custody exchange of the couple’s then 2-year-old son at a convenience store in Osceola, about 90 miles southeast of Kansas City.
Witness testified at the trial that the defendant vowed that if Lance Kilgore sought custody of their son, she would kill him or have him killed.
After the couple separated, Elizabeth Kilgore moved in with her mother and began working at the St. Clair County Jail. While there, she asked two inmates for help killing her husband, a Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant wrote in charging documents.
She was fired one month before the killing after one of the inmates reported that she’d made the request. She admitted under questioning to smuggling the inmate contraband but denied the solicitation allegation.
In a recorded call, however, she can be heard telling the second inmate that her father had offered to “handle my problem for me.”
Prosecutors said she also suggested that she wanted methamphetamine for her dad, a convicted felon with an extensive history of drug-related arrests, so that he could “go out with a bang.” She also threatened to turn her dad in for drugs if he did not take care of Lance Kilgore, the release said.
The murder-suicide was captured on store surveillance video. Elizabeth Kilgore arrived minutes later in another vehicle with her son, explaining that she was “running late,” the sergeant wrote.
Prosecutors said that when she was arrested, police found methamphetamine in her car, a note from an inmate and more than $9000 in cash, which she admitted was her “run money.”