Whistleblowers Fight Back Against Pastor Steve Wingfield's Lawsuit

Courtesy of Facebook
Steve Wingfield, left, is suing some members and former members of First Christian Church of Florissant, where he serves as lead pastor.
Two people being sued by First Christian Church of Florissant and its pastor, Steve Wingfield, are firing back, with motions to dismiss the church's lawsuit and a press release challenging the pastor's claims.

As this week's Riverfront Times cover story detailed, Dawn Varvil met with Wingfield in 2012 and shared her concerns about a youth minister at the church named Brandon Milburn.

Two years later, Milburn was arrested for molesting two boys he had met through the church -- and a church member named Doug Lay prepared a report questioning what Wingfield knew about Milburn and whether he took appropriate action. The report focused in part on what happened at Varvil's meeting with Wingfield.

Wingfield responded by suing both Lay and Varvil, as well as former members Titus and Kari Benton, who'd criticized him on Facebook.

More »

Star Clipper Blasts Off in Downtown St. Louis

Photo by Jeremy Essig
Star Clipper opened for business Saturday under new ownership, but with many of its Delmar Loop employees.
By Jeremy Essig

It's fitting that the story that rebooted some of history's most famous superheroes also began a new era for St. Louis' bestl-known comic-book shop.

Star Clipper Comics relaunched from its new downtown location under cloudy skies Saturday morning. In a moment of beautiful synchronicity, Flashpoint, a 2011 comic-book series that began anew the histories of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, among others, was the first item rung through new store's till.

See also: Star Clipper Returns: Comic Book Shop to Resurrect with New Owners, Location

Much as Flashpoint made some dramatic alterations to comic history even while maintaining some continuity, the new Star Clipper location was also a distinct mix of old and new. The smell of fresh paint and new fixtures combined with recognizable signage and some familiar faces from the store's old Delmar location to begin the store's next chapter.

More »

Charles Manson's St. Louis-Area Fiancée Is Marrying Him For His Corpse: Report

Charles Manson's booking photo.
Charles Manson's 27-year-old fiancée wants to marry the notorious mass murderer so she'll have legal claim to his body when he dies, according to the New York Post.

Manson's bride-to-be Afton Elaine Burton -- who goes by Star, the nickname Manson gave her -- wants to keep his body on display in a glass case and charge visitors to see it, says journalist Daniel Simone, who is looking to publish a book called The Retrial of Charles Manson.

Star grew up 40 miles north of St. Louis in Bunker Hill, Illinois, and moved to California as a teenager to be near Manson.

More »

De Smet Grad Killed in Downtown Purse-Snatching Was Trying to Stop Robber: Police

Google Maps
The 700 block of N. 15th Street, where an eighteen-year-old gunman shot Robert Christman during a robbery. The building on the right is the City Museum.
The purse-snatching robber who shot and killed a De Smet Jesuit High School graduate near the City Museum downtown last month now faces murder, robbery and gun charges.

The circuit attorney's office charged Christopher Grant, eighteen, of Collinsville, Illinois, Wednesday with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action. Grant is in custody in St. Clair County on unrelated charges of battery and alcohol possession.

More »

Charles Manson Doesn't Wed St. Louis-Area Bride, Lets Marriage License Expire

What's the hold up, Charlie? Cold feet?
He's still single, ladies.

America's most infamous mass murderer Charles Manson and his wife-to-be, who grew up 40 miles north of St. Louis, missed their chance to get married this weekend. Their marriage license expires Thursday, but Corcoran State Prison, where 80-year-old Manson is serving a life sentence, doesn't allow inmate weddings on weekdays.

"A Manson wedding did not take place," a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told the Los Angeles Times.

More »

First Suspect Charged with Murder After Bloody Night of Homicides in St. Louis

Google Maps
The 5000 block of Cates Avenue, where Leon Rivers was shot and killed in the street.
After a bloody night of shootings all over St. Louis city left six dead, police have arrested three suspects and charged one with murder.

Ramon Demery faces a murder charge for the killing of Leon Rivers, a 34-year-old man from the 4800 block of Penrose Street.

More »

Police Charge Ferguson Protesters for Robbery of Livestreamer Chris Schaefer

Courtesy of Chris Schaefer
A photo of Chris Schaefer shortly after he was allegedly beaten and robbed in a church.
The attack on Chris Schaefer during a strategy meeting last month at Greater St. Mark Missionary Church has resulted in charges -- second-degree robbery, a Class B felony -- for four Ferguson protesters.

The charges stem from the theft of Schaefer's iPhone and charger on November 6. Schaefer, a 22-year-old University of Missouri-St. Louis student, told police that during the meeting several protesters accused him of livestreaming the private gathering. He says they beat him, stole his phone and dragged him outside church, where he was able to run away and call 911. He was later treated at a hospital.

More »

Sunset Hills Mayor Accused of Striking Cyclist Faces Grand Jury, Impeachment

Tom Carlson
Mayor Mark Furrer's Mercedes parked outside Sunset Hills City Hall.
As the Sunset Hills board of alderman prepares to possibly impeach Mayor Mark Furrer for allegedly striking a cyclist with his car, a grand jury will investigate him for felony charges of assault and property damage, says the cyclist's attorney.

Court documents show Furrer is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, but attorney Michelle Funkenbusch tells Daily RFT Furrer will instead face a grand jury on Wednesday, with the jury's decision expected by Thursday.

More »

Peaceful Protest In Clayton Over Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Quickly Fizzles Out

Saddiyah Rice
We're pretty sure she means "McCulloch."
A Clayton demonstration organized to protest a grand-jury decision not to indict the police officer who choke-held Eric Garner to death in New York yesterday petered out after about an hour.

About 100 protesters gathered Wednesday evening at the foot of the steps to the St. Louis County Library in Clayton after news that the police officer who killed Garner would not be charged with a crime.

The Garner case had special significance in St. Louis, which has experienced near-nightly protests all over the city after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Last week, a grand-jury decision not to indict the then-Ferguson police officer who shot Brown was followed by a violent night of gun shots, looting, arson, tear gas and vandalism.

More »

Hands Up, Don't Apologize: St. Louis Rams, County Police Squabble Over Non-Apology

Jessica Lussenhop
Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County Police, says the Rams apologized.
Did St. Louis Rams VP Kevin Demoff apologize to St. Louis County Police for the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture at Sunday's game? Depends on whom you ask.

Police say yes, he apologized. That's because Demoff called county police chief Jon Belmar Monday after five Rams players took the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands raised, a symbol that has come to represent Michael Brown surrendering to Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson before being fatally shot in August.

More »