St. Louis: Ten Ghastliest Crimes of 2009

This year's murder rate shouldn't eclipse last year's homicide numbers. (At least not in the city limits of St. Louis where police report 143 killings through December 21 compared to 165 by the same date in 2008.)

Still, 2009 provided plenty of horrific and senseless murders in a city known as one of America's most dangerous. Here in ascending order are what Daily RFT considered to be the worst of those crimes. 

10. Eat-Rite Slaying

D'Angelo Tate
Shevette Chambers shared a meal August 16 with known thug D'Angelo Tate and several other people at the popular downtown diner, Eat-Rite. Upon leaving the restaurant around 3 a.m., Tate's girlfriend showed up in the parking lot and confronted her hubbie about being with Chambers. The two women got into an argument that ended when Tate allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband and fired four bullets into Chambers, leaving her dead.

9. Man Beaten to Death by Female Couple in Forest Park
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Fulks and Jones
Willard Bryant Payne, 26, went to Forest Park on June 15 to smoke a joint with two women he'd just recently met -- Dawn Fulks and Mellonie Jones. When Payne made a verbal sexual advance toward Fulks, Jones (described by police as Fulk's girlfriend) became enraged and allegedly hit Payne. Payne tried to run from the women but they caught up with him and continued the beating. Payne's body was found at 6:41 a.m. by people driving near the park. He was pronounced dead at the scene, a victim of blunt force trauma.

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Arlanda McCelleary
8. Woman Charged with Stabbing Ex-Boyfriend to Death
Arlanda McCelleary, 41, of the 3600 block of Gasconade in south St. Louis city, was charged with stabbing her ex-boyfriend Van Johnson, 49, on the first day of December. Johnson apparently suffered for nearly a day in McCelleary's residence, because police didn't get a tip about the stabbing until the next day, at which point they obtained entry into McCelleary's residence and discovered the victim still alive.

Johnson, of the 1000 block of Renshaw in north county, was rushed to a hospital where he died of multiple stab wounds.

7. East St. Louis Teen Murdered Following Argument Over Nike Air Jordans
The body of 15-year-old Leonard Hollis was found July 29 in a home at 1109 N. 44th Street in East St. Louis. Hollis was murdered shortly following an argument with an acquaintance over a pair of Air Jordans that Hollis had lent to his alleged murderer and were not returned.

6. Eighth-Grader Murdered While Working Alongside His Father

Michael Goulbourne
Michael Goulbourne, an eighth grader at Normandy Middle School, was killed while working alongside his dad at the family's "Mi Hungry" food stand on N. Kingshighway on May 8. The fahter and son were closing up shop around 8 p.m. that day when four armed men pulled up in a Pontiac sedan and demanded money. Goulbourne and his father handed over cash and jewelry, but that wasn't enough for the gunmen who shot them point-blank as they fled the scene. Goulbourne, 14, died immediately. His father survived a gunshot wound to the hand.

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