After three days of testimony, Stephan Cannon was found guilty of first-degree murder for the shooting death of retired police captain David Dorn in June 2020.
Emotions ran high in the courtroom.
After the verdict was read, one woman stormed out, muttering "ya'll bitches" under her breath and rattling the courtroom door as she left. Cannon was led away by deputies.
Many, though, cried tears of joy, including Ann Dorn, David Dorn's widow. She hugged prosecutor Marvin Teer, who had just won the first case he had tried in two decades.
Teer compared trying jury cases to riding a bicycle, with the qualifier that even if you know how to ride a bike that doesn't mean you can't get hurt on one.
After a long legal career, including many years as a municipal judge, Teer told the RFT he'd "given away all his suits and ties" until coming out of retirement last year to work for the circuit attorney's office.
Outside the courthouse, Ann Dorn thanked Teer. She described herself as "elated" and "thankful to God."
She described her deceased husband as, "a wonderful man, a wonderful father and grandfather."
She added that she had sympathy for Cannon's family.
"I lost David, and they lost a brother and a son," she said. "My heart goes out to them. There are no winners."
The jury reached its verdict around 3:30 p.m., about three hours after the case had been handed to them.
The case centered on the events in the early hours of June 2, 2020. The city was facing widespread unrest in the wake of George Floyd's murder. Around 2:30 a.m., Dorn tried to stop looters at Lee's Pawn & Jewelry on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Though Dorn was no longer a police officer, he still worked security for the store, which was owned by a friend. When Dorn arrived at the scene, he fired several shots in the air hoping to disperse the crowd. A few moments later, a man whose appearance was obscured by a mask and a baseball cap shot Dorn four times.
In his closing argument earlier today, Teer began by memorializing Dorn, who, Teer said, "dedicated his entire life to nothing but helping others." He added that Dorn kept serving his community even after "his tour of duty was done." He said this as he held a framed portrait of Dorn in his police uniform.
He then ran down the numerous charges against Cannon, highlighting the connection between the lesser charges related to looting to the most serious charge of murder.
Teer then argued for the jury to find Cannon guilty of first-degree murder, which entails cool reflection before committing murder. The jury could have opted to convict Cannon on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
"What's most important is that on that day in the City of St. Louis, the defendant caused the death of David Dorn by shooting … and the defendant did so after deliberation," Teer said.
He told the jury that Cannon retrieving a gun from a friend's car and then running down that street to his "killing zone" qualified as deliberation.
Teer's closing statement largely avoided talk of Mark Jackson, the man who drove Cannon to and from Lee's, and from whose car Cannon retrieved his gun, according to the prosecution. Jackson's credibility, however, was damaged in court yesterday by Cannon's defense.
In his closing argument, Cannon's public defender Brian Horneyer spent a good portion of his allotted time focused on Jackson, quoting from Jackson's initial interview with police: "I will say anything to get out of these cuffs and get back to my son. Tell me what to say and I'll say it," Jackson said in audio of the interrogation.
Jackson is looking at the possibility of significant prison time on several charges, including felony murder, stemming from what happened on the night of Dorn's death. In recordings played for the court yesterday, detectives did tell Jackson that individuals who cooperate with prosecutors can often get charges reduced.
Horneyer theorized that detectives "pressured" and "cajoled" Jackson to give testimony against Cannon.
Teer told the jury that Horneyer's theory of the case was "fiction."
Ultimately, the jury agreed.
In addition to first-degree murder, Cannon was found guilty of robbery, burglary and three counts of armed-criminal action.
Horneyer said that he planned to file a motion for a new trial prior to Cannon's sentencing.