On a Tuesday night last year, Tami Inkley's 18-year-old son Matthew sent her a text that read, "I love you." She responded: "I love you more."
A few minutes later, he was shot in the head.
"This happened a year ago and I'm still numb," Inkley, a Ballwin resident, tells Daily RFT.
In recent weeks, she has been focusing her energy on the criminal case against her son's alleged killer, Kevin Beindorff, who has a hearing scheduled today in St. Louis. She's also trying to set the record straight after her son's death got national attention last year.
Why? Beindorff, 21 at the time, told police that her son had "asked to be shot."
The probable cause statement issued February 23 -- as Matthew Pellegrini, 18, failed to recover from the gunshot wound to his head -- outlined Beindorff's explanation. The document, full version on view below, said:
Defendant [Beindorff] was in a vehicle with his friend [Pellegrini] and another individual. [Beindorff] showed [Pellegrini] a revolver. [Pellegrini] told [Beindorff] to shoot him and [Beindorff] then raised the gun and placed it to [Pellegrini]'s head and shot him once. Victim [Pellegrini] suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of his forehead and died as a result of his injuries.
"This was never Matthew's fault. Matthew never asked for this," the 50-year-old mother says. "It's horrific as a parent to lose your child -- but then to have to defend your child's honor."
Now, she says, she has been told that the state prosecutor is likely to accept some kind of plea bargain today that could ultimately lead to a seven-year prison sentence for Beindorff. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office declined to comment before the hearing, as did the public defender representing Beindorff.
Beindorff is facing charges of both involuntary manslaughter in the first-degree and charges of armed criminal action. Court records show that the state of Missouri, on behalf of the family, requested more time before the plea set for today -- a request which was denied. The judge, however, has agreed to delay sentencing.
Continue for more of our interview with Tami Inkley.
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