Prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges Wednesday in a 1996 cold case involving the death of a woman in Andrew County.

Former St. Joseph resident Michael Wilson, 55, faces a charge of first-degree murder, and in the alternative, second-degree murder, as well as first-degree robbery in the strangulation death of Therese Campen. The state also charged the defendant as a prior and persistent offender.

Steven Stevenson, Andrew County prosecutor, announced the charges Wednesday.

The 36-year-old woman from Raytown, Mo., had picked up Mr. Wilson at a Raytown McDonald’s back in February 1996. Ms. Campen had been driving a boyfriend’s car.

At the time of the murder, law enforcement officers described the car as a turquoise or teal 1982 Oldsmobile Omega with Missouri license RKM 203, belonging to Dallas Stearns of Raytown, Mo. That vehicle was left by Mr. Wilson in Columbia, Mo., according to the defendant’s confession statement.

The pair ended up north of St. Joseph, on Andrew County Road 370, near the Amazonia Cemetery.

Mr. Wilson confessed that once he knew Ms. Campen was a prostitute, he planned to kill her. He handcuffed his victim and strangled her with a rubber hose, according to his confession.

Dragging the victim out of the car, Mr. Wilson confessed that he thought he broke her neck. He drug the body into the woods near the cemetery. To make sure the victim was dead, he broke a cemetery tombstone, then dragged the chunk of tombstone into the woods and threw it at the victim’s head.

The defendant is a state prisoner at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo., on convictions of rape, armed criminal action, sodomy, robbery, felonious restraint and assault. He said he confessed in order to put the case behind him and to give closure to the victim’s family.

The Andrew County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol have continued to investigate leads in the case. Since the initial interview, law enforcement agencies have been re-examining all of the forensic evidence to make sure that nothing was left to chance.

Marshall White can be reached at marshall.white@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWhite.







(15) comments

StressaG
StressaG

Marshall White, it was completely unnecessary to add the brutal details of this case. Unless they had become public as of today, many of those were never released to the public. In addition, to her family. You are extremely insensitive. You should be ashamed of yourself. There are many adjectives that could have been used instead of the graphic details that her family had CHOSEN not to hear. You should have put yourself in her family's shoes before printing that. Poorly written article.

1Adam12
1Adam12

A. Nice first post (eyeroll).

B. This crime was a very brutal crime. Grow up/deal with it. It will come out soon enough in the media and/or during the trial.

C. Marshall is one of the best News-Press Reporters out there. He wins awards and does great work... If you opt to not like him on how he wrote this article....then don't read it!!

D. I don't care if you are part of the family and/or a friend.....as stated, its gonna come out in the trial what happened. I guess you won't be there to support the family and/or your friends when that happens....since the Police and PA will be talking graphically.... :eyeroll:

socialfingered
socialfingered

I bet StressaG is watching the Jodi Arias trial and not thinking for one minute about the stress the Alexander family is facing.

StressaG
StressaG

In regards to the pathetic responses to my comment: Take your own advice, grow up. Maybe even mind your OWN business, not your daddy's article. Oh, and (eye roll.) And social fingered w your 500 + comments, you should probably get a life.

socialfingered
socialfingered

I have a great life thank you very much. Apparently you're upset that the article pointed out that the victim was a prostitute.

SaintJosephian
SaintJosephian

No offense SocialFingered, but anyone who reads this website knows you either 1.) Don't have a life or 2.) This is your only hobby. Neither option looks attractive. Nobody racks up 500+ posts in just a few months without having a TON of free time on their hands. You've posted non-stop here for years.

socialfingered
socialfingered

I bet I have a better life than you. I also happen to have at least 4 full time hobbies. Sure I pass time here but I don't answer to you. You sure seem to have issues if you're so worried about my post count. You must not have any life if free speech bothers you so much.

ranger85
ranger85

I'm sure that all of this was disclosed in a little piece of paper called a "Probable Cause Statement" and those are released to the media too

StressaG
StressaG

This information was first & foremost disclosed in a "big thing" called a confession letter! A letter that certain members of her family had chosen not to read because of the painful details. It was/is only this awful human beings suggestion that she "was a prostitute" which is enraging & those are his own personal accounts. There will be many disturbing photos & evidence that will be shown at the trial. That will be something each person who loved her will have to decide if they can handle, to be there. I personally having never read the confession or seen the crime scene photos was very shocked at how causally this reporter wrote this. No regard to the effects it would have. The KC reporter who covered it, did a better job. He also closed down the comment board which is commendable. I'm glad people could take time out of their morning to be rude about a comment directed only toward the author.

StressaG
StressaG

You're are missing the point. My emphasis is that this reporter is callous. Those details are taken from the confession letter. This man is already in prison & wants attention. This reporter didn't write a story, he merely re-wrote a detailed play by play account from the mind of a mentally disturbed person. Then subsequently the people who have avoided this have now read it. Can you imagine living with the pain of your mother or daughter being murdered, the case going cold for over 15yrs then getting a letter describing her death in detail? Have some sensitivity is ALL I am saying!

Daughter
Daughter

Well, considering this was a prostitution situation, YES, I AM PISSED! And that some compassion you have there ADAM! I have been dealing with this for 17 years! And if I choose not to read something, it shouldn't be sprawled all over, esp in a still OPEN case. God forbid you have a daughter and her mother gets brutally murdered when she is 15 then has to relive all this through poor reporting! So say what you want but as her daughter, your lack of empathy is really the sad thing here. Glad you don't give two sh**s about someone like me! These details are from the confession that I choose not to read, because this guy does NOT deserve anymore of my time than he's already taken! Nice to know theres still people like you out there defending idiots. Maybe you'll show up to the trial and sit on his side for support :/

Daughter
Daughter

*Was not a prostitution situation. I'm so mad at you people I can't even type!

socialfingered
socialfingered

How does anyone know whether this was or was not a "prostitute situation"? One party is dead and the other hasn't testified as to the facts of the case yet. We all have relatives, even mothers, and some of those mothers do things that get them into situations they can't control. Then the inevitable happens and it's discussed in all it's gory detail. People talk. Sometimes it's not what you want to see but when you have to make a user account in order to read this then you must be prepared that not everything you read or see is going to be flattering. Believe it or not, I have a family member that has been discussed on this site and it was not at all flattering but that's life. What this person did made me angry and not the people discussing it. After all had the relative not subjected him or herself to conditions which caused the story to come to print in the first place, then not a word would have been printed about him or her.

1Adam12
1Adam12

Good Lord. Whatever happened is going to come out in a trial and already (as someone stated) in the PC Statement that the PA and the LE filed with the Court.....

If you don't think the News-Press, KC Star and other media outlets are going to not print stuff like that..... then you are smoking some really good stuff.

Its instrumental to the case and the story.... Either live with it or stop reading the news.....

Daughter
Daughter

You DO NOT need an account to read this stuff! Just to comment. There may not be a trial, so some of this unless there is will not come out. And had they reported all the facts, pretty sure your idiot views would be different. And the star and everywhere that reported this which is multiple outlets did not include lots of this. It is not necessary to print these details to get the point across that my mother was brutally murdered PERIOD!

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