Calls to seek the death penalty in Catholic Supply case

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Former St. Louis County Police Chief and incoming county councilman Tim Fitch is asking the prosecuting attorney's office to hand over prosecution duties for the Catholic Supply murder suspect to federal authorities.

In a press statement, Tim Fitch said the suspect, Thomas Bruce, deserves "the ultimate penalty upon conviction" for the sexual assaults and murder.

Prosecutors allege Bruce walked into the Catholic Supply on Manchester Road on November 19 and ordered the three women inside to strip at gunpoint before sexually assaulting two of them and shooting the third victim.

Bruce was apprehended at his home in Imperial, Missouri following a two-day manhunt. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary, one count of tampering with physical evidence, and eight counts of armed criminal action. He’s being held without bail.

During a November 21 news conference addressing the aforementioned charges, St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said his successor, Wesley Bell, would be the one to decide if the death penalty would be on the table. However, Fitch points to Bell's campaign website, in which the prosecuting attorney-elect has pledged never to seek the death penalty.

A spokesperson for Bell's office, Josi Neilsen, issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“There is only one prosecutor at a time, thus it would be inappropriate for Mr. Bell to comment on any pending cases prior to taking office.”

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