Man Allegedly Stabs Girlfriend Within Hours of Jail Release




Man Allegedly Stabs Girlfriend Within Hours of Jail Release
By: Kate Scott

(Sikeston, MO)--For the second time in two weeks, the Sikeston Department of Public Safety is dealing with a domestic dispute that's turned deadly.

Police say 24-year old Mary Rudd was stabbed to death by her estranged boyfriend on Friday afternoon. It happened outside Freedom Taxi on West Malone Street in Sikeston.

The suspect has now been identified as 34-year old Percy Johnson.  He's been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, first-degree assault, and felonious restraint.  Sadly, Johnson had just been released from jail on Friday morning, after assaulting Rudd on Thursday.

“I don't think he should've gotten back out,” says Freedom Taxi employee Lisa Anderson.  “Because now she's dead.”  But Sikeston Police Chief Drew Juden tells Heartland News, “There was nothing within the legal system that we could've done further to prevent this.”

Juden says Johnson was arrested on Thursday afternoon, after slapping and pushing Rudd.  That too occurred at Freedom Taxi, where Rudd’s mother works. But Chief Juden says Rudd didn't want to prosecute on Thursday.  And the misdemeanor charge against Johnson amounted to little more than a traffic violation.  “We have a duty under Missouri state law to make an arrest when there's domestic violence,” Juden explains to Heartland News.  “We carried out that duty, we assigned him a court date, and we released him within 12 minutes of the 20 hours. So we went to the fullest extent that we could go.  Unfortunately, he got out and performed this horrible, horrible crime,”

In fact, Chief Juden says it was just two hours after Johnson got out of jail, that he returned to Freedom Taxi, and stabbed Rudd several times in the neck and upper torso, with her mother and other witnesses just a few feet away.  Rudd was later pronounced dead at the hospital.  “We knew they were having trouble,” says Anderson, who describes both individuals as friendly to others. “But we sure didn't expect this.”

Neither did police. Chief Juden says Percy Johnson had no previous history of violence, except for his arrest on Thursday. And even though there's nothing more police could have done, Juden says he can't help but feel badly.  “It makes you feel like you're not getting the job done,” he laments. “Or that you're not getting the message across. I think that we try to do the best we can, and obviously we can't keep people in jail forever. And you can't predict what's going to happen.”

Percy Johnson is being held in the Sikeston Jail without bond.

Again, Freedom Taxi employees say Rudd was on the company’s property because her mom worked there.  They say the incident had nothing to do with the owner or other workers.  In fact, one worker who witnessed the stabbing actually helped chased Johnson down so police could take him into custody. Scott County Sheriff’s Deputies also assisted in the arrest.

Rudd had a 22-month old daughter and an 8-month old son, whom she was holding while she was stabbed.  Police say the baby was not hurt in the attack.  He's now in the custody of family members.