Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) – In the past two months, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has successfully committed four sexually violent predators, a part of his continuing efforts to keep Missourians safe. Since early June, the Sexually Violent Predator Unit at the Attorney General’s Office has successfully committed Pete Wright, Stanley Schell, Wilbert Payton, and Charles Ezell as sexually violent predators.
“As Attorney General, it’s my duty to keep all six million of my fellow Missourians safe, especially from sexually violent predators who seek to harm our citizens,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Often behind the scenes, our Sexually Violent Predator Unit works diligently to effectively screen which predators are deemed sexually violent and ensure that those predators are not released back into general society before proper treatment. I’m proud of the work they have done in these cases and the work they do every day to protect Missourians.”
On June 12, 2019, a Jackson County jury found Pete Wright, 56, to be a sexually violent predator. Wright had previously been convicted in 1988 for attacking a 21-year old female student in the middle of the day near the Plaza in Kansas City. Wright was convicted at trial and sentenced to 30 years. In prison, he engaged in decades-long behaviors of stalking female staff and exposing himself in behavior described by psychologists as attempts to sexually dominate. He was caught with dozens of pages of handwritten surveillance notes hidden in his cell detailing the names, work schedules, and physical profiles of female staff as well as his personal log detailing hundreds of instances in which he had been stalking or exposing himself to women.
Wright was offered multiple attempts at sex offender treatment and refused. In 2017, he was evaluated by a psychologist from the Department of Corrections, a multi-disciplinary team, and a team of prosecutors as being a highly dangerous sex offender. Before his anticipated release from prison, the Missouri Attorney General filed a petition to keep Wright off the streets and instead place him into a secure mental health facility for the care, control, and treatment of sexually violent predators.
Upon the jury’s verdict, the Honorable Mark Styles committed Wright to the custody of the Department of Mental Health until he is safe to be at large.
The case was tried by Assistant Attorneys General Monty Platz and Paige Wheeler and investigated by Missouri’s sexually violent predator commitment unit.
On July 15, 2019, a Crawford County jury found Stanley A. Schell, 71, to be a sexually violent predator. Schell, a diagnosed pedophile, had a prolonged history of raping and molesting children. In 1987, he was convicted in Texas for six years of sexual abuse on two step-daughters. In 1988, when released on probation and while in sex offender treatment, Schell began sodomizing an 11-year old boy and 12-year old girl. In 1990, he was caught and sentenced in St. Louis County to 10 years. After completing a sex offender treatment program, Schell was released on parole and within months proceeded to rape and sodomize two more boys, ages 10 and 11. Schell received 17 more years and was caught repeatedly attempting to contact minor children while in prison.
Before his anticipated release from prison, Schell was evaluated by a psychologist from the Department of Corrections, a multi-disciplinary team of experts, a prosecutor review committee, and a psychologist from the Department of Mental Health, all of whom concurred Schell was a sexually violent predator. The Missouri Attorney General then filed a petition to keep Schell off the streets and place him into a secure mental health facility for the control, care, and treatment of sexual predators until he is safe to be at large.
The case was tried by Assistant Attorney General Monty Platz and investigated by Missouri’s sexually violent predator commitment unit.
On July 18, 2019, a Buchanan County jury found Charles Ezell, 73, to be a sexually violent predator. The Honorable David Bolander signed an order committing Ezell to the custody of the Department of Mental Health for treatment until such time he is safe to be at large. The Missouri Department of Mental Health found that Ezell suffers from a mental disorder causing an attraction to prepubescent girls for which he has never completed treatment. In 2006, he received a conviction for first-degree child molestation for the abuse of a nine-year-old girl. Four more children came forward to disclose their abuse during that investigation, and yet another came forward during the AGO’s investigation to prepare for last week’s trial.
The jury heard of a history of child abuse dating back more than twenty years.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Katharine Dolin and Paige Wheeler with assistance from Paralegal Rebecca Sullivan, and Investigator Carla Ramshead.
On July 24, a St. Louis jury found Wilbert Payton, 60, to be a sexually violent predator. Payton has three separate convictions for sexually abusing young children. In 1978, he pled guilty to Child Molestation 1st Degree for sexually abusing an 8 year old boy. In 1980, he pled guilty to Attempted Rape for attempting to sexually assault a 3 year old girl. In 1989, Payton was convicted of Sodomy for sexually abusing an 11 year old girl. While serving his sentences, Payton failed to complete sex offender treatment. As a result of the jury’s verdict, Payton was civilly committed to the custody of the Missouri Department of Mental Health for control, care, and treatment.
The case was tried by Assistant Attorneys General Jennifer Szczucinski and Katharine Dolin with the assistance of paralegal Rebecca Sullivan and Investigator Carla Ramshead.