Man found guilty in 2012 murder of Reynolds Co. man

Man found guilty in 2012 murder of Reynolds Co. man

REYNOLDS COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Phelps County jury has found a man guilty of first degree murder in the death of a St. Louis man.

Zachary R. Clampitt, 26, formerly of Park Hills, was found guilty of first degree murder, armed criminal action and second degree burglary in the homicide of 57-year-old Thomas Espy.

According to a release from the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Espy owned a hunting cabin in Reynolds County and vacationed there often during his retirement.

On the early morning of April 25, 2012, Clampitt and another man, Tyson Fortner, allegedly drove to the property and broke into a tool shed and vehicles.

Clampitt allegedly shot Espy in his sleep with a .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol, killing him.

He then left the scene when two friends vacationing with Espy awoke to the sound of gunshots and began turning on lights.

A month later, Clampitt was accused of attempting to run over a St. Louis police officer during a traffic stop. He was caught five days later hiding in a hotel attic.

St. Louis police found the murder weapon used in the Espy investigation in the stolen vehicle Clampitt had been driving.

Clampitt pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and felony property damage. He was also convicted in 2013 for felony burglary, which happened in St. Francois County a month before the murder.

According to Koster, Clampitt was also convicted in 2008 for felony assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Clampitt will be sentenced on May 2 for Espy's murder and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole on the murder charge, plus a minimum of three years on armed criminal action and up to 15 years on burglary.

His co-defendant, Tyson Fortner, formerly of Bismarck, Mo., was charged with second degree murder for his role in the burglary that resulted in Espy's death.

Koster said Fortner will also be sentenced on May 2, following a plea of guilty.

The case was heard by a Phelps County judge after a change of venue from Reynolds County. The case was investigated by the Reynolds County sheriff, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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