Southeast Mo. prosecutor: Senate Bill 666 is a ‘make murder legal act’

Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 at 5:44 PM CST
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STODDARD COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - Another possible change to Missouri law has prosecutors, sheriffs and police chiefs in the Heartland sounding the alarm.

This time, they say criminals could cry self-defense, and possibly get away with murder.

”It would absolutely create chaos in the state of Missouri.”

Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver is talking about Senate Bill 666.

Under the measure, all cases of physical or deadly force would be presumed to be self-defense unless proven otherwise.

“It would automatically have the presumption of self-defense in every single assault, every single murder,” he said.

Oliver testified against SB 666 before members of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. He spoke on behalf of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, where he serves as a legislative committee member.

“It was important to come up here and let our senators know that this bill is dangerous to public safety,” he said. “This bill is dangerous to our victims. And we shouldn’t have to go before a judge before we can arrest someone who has killed someone.”

Oliver also joined a host of law enforcement leaders from throughout southeast Missouri in sending a letter to State Senator Jason Bean. In it, they call SB 666 “a disaster for public safety,” making it even harder to bring violent criminals to justice.

Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair added his name to that letter.

“There’s obviously the real potential that the moment they claim self-defense that our hands are tied,” he said.

Blair said this new push comes as they’re still handcuffed by the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which keeps them from working with the federal government on gun cases.

“We thought, well you can’t get much worse than that,” he said. “And now, here we are looking at potential legislation that says unless I can definitively prove that a suspect was not acting in self-defense, I can’t even make an arrest.”

That’s why the letter ends with a statement Oliver made under oath, “SB 666 is being called the Make Murder Legal Act.”

“Law enforcement feels like they’re under attack from Jefferson City. And we had to come up here and tell them that we can’t, you can’t make our job that much harder and putting that many hurdles between us and seeking justice for victims of violent crime.”

SB 666 is sponsored by Republican Eric Burlison, who also sponsored the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which is still being challenged in court.

According to his office, since we are not in his district, he is not interested in commenting on this story.

No word yet on when that Senate Committee will take a vote on the measure.

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