Eric Schmitt Bets on Unreliable Witness in Missouri Murder Case

Alice Weiss says her cousin's lies led to charges in 2004 murder case

click to enlarge Alice Weiss, with her cat Julius, is accused of a 2004 murder. Her cousin alleges she committed the crime to find out if killing was as pleasurable as sex. - COURTESY ALICE WEISS
COURTESY ALICE WEISS
Alice Weiss, with her cat Julius, is accused of a 2004 murder. Her cousin alleges she committed the crime to find out if killing was as pleasurable as sex.

Alice Weiss, 66, lives just outside Columbia, Missouri, on a leafy street with a two-acre retention pond that the neighborhood's 100 or so residents call "the lake." She's an elected board member of the homeowners association and takes it upon herself to manage the landscaping and flower beds in the subdivision's green spaces. She does this despite having to rely heavily on a wheelchair for mobility.

Nearly one year ago, on August 11, some workers with the Boone County Streets Department repaired an inflow pipe connected to "the lake." Around 6 p.m., Weiss got behind the wheel of her Jeep for the short drive to the retention pond so she could take a photo of the work and post it to the neighborhood website.

She was in her Jeep outside her house when five police cars came down the street. An officer in one waved her over, asked her to step out of her car, then put her in cuffs.

"What's this all about?" Weiss asked.

"You're under arrest for the murder of James Summers," the officer replied.

Summers had been killed nearly 20 years ago, 150 miles away.

According to the probable cause statement written prior to Weiss' arrest, new evidence had emerged in the case. Weiss' cousin told investigators that Weiss had told him she killed Summers because "she always wanted to know if killing someone was as pleasurable as sex."

The angle was too juicy for journalists to ignore, and the quote appeared in headlines across the nation. No one ever bothered to look into its source.

About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times.
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