Missouri woman charged with murder in 17-year-old cold case

Missouri

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A woman faces charges in the 2004 death of her boyfriend James Summers. Alice Weiss, 65, is charged with murder in the second degree.

Jefferson County Police got some help with the 15-year-old investigation. A new “Cold Case Unit” was formed by the Missouri Attorney General’s office in December 2020 to help with cases just like this.

Jefferson County Deputies were called to the 6600 block of Shenandoah Lane in Dittmer on April 27, 2004 for a report of a person down. They found the body of James Summers lying against a detached garage. It did not appear like there was a struggle at the time of the shooting.

Summers had been shot in the back and the face, according to court documents. Officers found a .22 caliber handgun in the driveway.

Alice Weiss, Summers’ live-in girlfriend, met with officers dressed in a pink bathrobe and a towel near the home. She initially told police that the gun belonged to her and was stored unloaded in a bathroom closet.

Weiss told officers that Summers just left the home to pick up his daughter from gymnastics. She was taking a shower and heard two “pops.” When she went outside to see what the noise was she found his body and called 911.

Deputies asked Weiss if they could swab her hands for gunshot residue. She told officers twice that she needed to use the restroom but they denied her requests. Then she remembered firing the gun for the first time in 20 years earlier the same day.

Weiss’ father had advanced stages of dementia. He was the only other person in the home at the time and was unable to give any coherent statements about the events. Neighbors told police that they heard gunshots but no one saw the shooting.

The probable cause statement says that Weiss was interviewed several times by police. She gave some inconsistent statements about the event, including about previously firing the gun.

The pink robe Weiss was wearing was sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Lab for examination. They found gunshot residue on the left sleeve.

Weiss told police that she did not shoot Summers. She believes he confronted a thief in their driveway. Officers asked about how the shooter got the gun from inside her home and admitted that it seemed unlikely.

Investigators shot a gun outside of the home to test Weiss’ story. They determined that the gunfire was barely audible.

Her cousin told investigators that he went shopping with Weiss in 2008 at Wal-Mart after her father passed away. She told him that she always wanted to know if killing someone was as pleasurable as sex.

Weiss also told her cousin that because her father passed away she could not be charged with the murder. She could always say her father did it. Weiss also compared Summers to her older brother, who she hated.

“While getting the current violent crime issue under control is incredibly important, it’s also crucial that we do not neglect or forsake the often forgotten victims of violent crime whose cases have not been solved or have gone cold. The passage of time does not, in any way, diminish the importance of certain cases,” states Attorney General Schmitt.

Missouri’s Cold Case Unit has previously announced charges in a 35-year-old case. A man is now facing second-degree murder charges for a 1986 killing in Franklin County.

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