ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A 54-year-old Florissant man will spend the remainder of his life in prison after admitting to killing his boss in January 2021 after being fired from his job.

According to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Christopher Owens appeared in circuit court Wednesday morning and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. As part of a plea agreement, Owens was immediately sentenced to life plus 15 years.

Owens said he shot and killed Brantley Tate on Jan. 26, 2021, outside the Marygrove Child Center in the 2700 block of Mullanphy Road. Police found Tate in the parking lot suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Tate was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Tate was 60.

Investigators identified Owens as the suspected shooter and took him into custody a short time later.

Tate and Owens were employed together at Marygrove and that Tate was Owens’ immediate supervisor. Just days earlier, Owens walked off the job and was fired. He shot Tate in retaliation after coming back to retrieve his personal items from the office.

Tate’s family, including his widow, stepdaughters, and son, testified at Wednesday’s plea hearing.

“Brant was the kindest and most generous man I have ever known, and he loved me so much,” Tate’s widow said. “My heart mostly hurts that he died before he could teach our son everything a man is supposed to know.”

One stepdaughter told the court she still has nightmares about the murder and finds herself occasionally trying to call her stepdad when she’s working on her home “because he didn’t get to teach me everything either.” His other stepdaughter, who appeared via videoconferencing, said Tate’s murder was pointless before adding, “I will be angry for the rest of my life.”

Tate’s son, who is preparing to graduate high school, lamented he won’t get to hear his dad say he’s proud of him ever again.