Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jennings, MO: Boy in Jennings sees mother stabbed to death, runs to neighbor for help

JENNINGS • Don Moore got the news about his daughter’s death in a horrible way.

He called Sophia Moore’s cellphone, and the boyfriend she had recently broken up with answered. Moore asked to speak with his daughter.

“He said ‘Well, Sophia is dead. I killed her. She’s laying in a pool of blood. You never liked me anyway,’ ” Don Moore said, describing the brief conversation he had late Tuesday with Calvin Campbell II.

Campbell turned himself in at the Jennings Police Station about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and confessed to killing Moore, 28, St. Louis County Officer Randy Vaughn said. Campbell, 32, was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He was jailed in St. Louis County without bail.

But Don Moore said that before Campbell’s confession he tormented his victim’s relatives by boasting of the slaying. He took her car and her phone and broke the news of her death and his role in it to whomever called. Don Moore said Campbell went as far as calling Sophia Moore’s grandmother to tell her that Sophia, the mother of two, was dead at his hands.

“It’s just devastating,” Don Moore said. “How could you tell a grandmother something like that?”

Police were summoned to Moore’s home by neighbors Jovonah Burks and Melinda Roberts. The two said Wednesday that they had answered a banging at their door Tuesday night and opened it to find Moore’s 9-year-old son on their doorstep.

“Help me!” Burks remembers him screaming. “He just killed my momma.”

The boy told Burks, 21, and her mother, Roberts, 51, that an attacker had stormed into his home in the 9400 block of Dawn Court. The boy said he had escaped out a window while the man stabbed his mother to death. He didn’t know whether his 8-year-old brother had gotten out.

“He grabbed me so tight and said, ‘Help me, please help me. What are we going to do without my momma? Where are we going to go?’ ” Roberts recalled Wednesday.

Police said Sophia Moore died of stab wounds to her chest. They say she had kicked Campbell out of the house the week before. Tuesday night, they say, he came back angry.

They say Campbell had pounded on the door to get in, then punched Moore in the face. He grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Moore as she tried to escape out a back kitchen window, police said. Her sons were unharmed, authorities said.

Campbell’s criminal history includes convictions in St. Louis city and county for unlawful use of a weapon, marijuana possession, misdemeanor assault, domestic assault and drug trafficking.

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, Campbell served two years of probation for an October 2006 marijuana possession conviction and went to prison for 3½ months in 2009 after pleading guilty to unlawful use of a weapon. He then returned to prison for six months in 2011 for a probation violation. Court records say he also served 63 days in jail for two misdemeanor counts of assault.

After the attack, Roberts said, police put both boys in a patrol car until their father arrived. He took them away before they could see authorities carry their mother’s body out of the home.

“All I could think was how tight he had grabbed me begging for help,” Roberts said. “It broke my heart.”

Don Moore said his grandsons were getting counseling for the ordeal. “I don’t know the long-term effect it’s going to have on them,” he said.

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