Man sentenced to life in prison for 2002 Cape Girardeau Co., MO - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man sentenced to life in prison for 2002 Cape Girardeau Co., MO murder

Mark Gill (Source: Missouri Department of Corrections) Mark Gill (Source: Missouri Department of Corrections)
Ralph Lape Jr. (Source: Family provided) Ralph Lape Jr. (Source: Family provided)
Justin Brown (Source: Missouri Department of Corrections) Justin Brown (Source: Missouri Department of Corrections)
COLUMBIA, MO (KFVS) -

A former Cape Girardeau man will spend the remainder of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

According to Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Limbaugh, Mark Gill, 47, was sentenced after a retrial in Boone County, Mo.

Gill, who was 31 at the time of the crime, was temporarily living with his victim, Ralph Lape, Jr.

Investigators said Gill and another man planned to kidnap Lape, steal his money and murder him. Before his murder, Lape had received a settlement for several hundred thousand dollars after working 30 years on the Frisco railroad, according to Limbaugh.

On July 7, 2002, Gill and Justin Brown jumped Lape in his garage where they bound him with duct tape and zip ties. Limbaugh said the pair took Lape to a cornfield in New Madrid County where they assaulted him and got his financial information.

The two men took turns digging a grave for Lape before putting him in that grave. He was shot one time and died.

Over the course of three weeks, they spend some of Lape's money. Limbaugh said Gill was arrested in New Mexico about three weeks later.

Both Brown and Gill eventually confessed to the crime.

Gill went to trial in New Madrid County after a change of venue was granted.

A jury found Gill guilty of murder and sentenced him to death.

In 2010, Gill's sentence was reversed after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that his original counsel was ineffective. The case was then moved to Boone County, Missouri.

On Saturday, May 20, a Boone County jury sentenced Gill to life in prison without the possibility of parole. That sentence was the result of a two-week jury trial.

Gill will continue to serve his sentence in the Potosi Correctional Center.

Court records show the other man charged in the case, Justin Brown, was found guilty on charges of murder 1st degree and kidnapping by a jury in Pulaski County in 2006. His case was moved to Pulaski County after a change of venue request. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on both counts.

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