Three arrested on murder charges

Left to right: Whitney D. Robins, 28; Blake S. Schindler, 17; and Timothy D. Wonish, 30.

The daughter of a man who died in his home last year asked the judge hearing her father’s case to reject a plea deal and send the case to trial.

Kathy Allen, the daughter of drug counselor Kenneth Allen Jr., 70, spoke during a plea hearing Tuesday for Timothy D. Wonish, 31, and Whitney D. Robins, 29, who have been charged in connection to his death.

Allen died Nov. 3, 2016, during a burglary at his home south of Washington.

“The house I grew up in is now a house of murder. The family photos are now ruined,” Allen said. “The photos of the living room are now the photos of where my dad lay dying. I can never see those family photos again.

“I’m living with these awful things in my mind,” she said. “In the living room, right there by my front door, my dad was hog-tied with phone and lamp cords.

“Were those our cords, or did you bring your own?” she asked Wonish.

Presiding Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood said he will take the daughter’s statements under advisement and has set another hearing for Friday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. following sentencing assessment reports (SARs) for the suspects.

SARs are prepared by the Missouri Department of Corrections’ Board of Probation and Parole for use by the court in determining an appropriate sentence for a defendant who has pled or been found guilty of a felony.

Wonish and Robins pleaded guilty to lesser charges of burglary and involuntary manslaughter.

The two suspects, and a third suspect, Blake S. Schindler, 18, Union, were indicted earlier this year by a Franklin County grand jury on the charges of felony murder, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property. The suspects were charged with felony murder because Allen died during the commission of another crime, burglary.

Under the plea deal for Wonish and Robins, each would serve 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the burglary charge, and seven years on the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter. The involuntary murder and burglary charges would run concurrently.

The receiving stolen property charge would be dismissed.

“The defendants came to his house and robbed him of his dignity,” Allen said. “How much pain did my dad endure? Did he die slowly? How long did it take for his life to be drained away? I may never have the answers.

“Your acts were no accident,” she said to the defendants. “My dad did not deserve that.

“I have to bear the unbearable. The fact that my dad’s killers may be back on the streets in less than 10 years. I ask that you reject the plea and send this case to a jury of their peers.”

Schindler was released on his own recognizance May 3 and ordered to wear a GPS tracking device.

Allen said she recently spoke with the doctor who determined the cause of death in the case and recorded the phone call.

“His face was blue and he had blood coming from his mouth and nose,” she said. “The doctor said no one from the investigation ever contacted him about clarification.”

During the investigation, authorities found evidence that someone had been in the home, possibly searching for something.

The suspects were located at a residence shortly before midnight Nov. 4 in South St. Louis County and were in possession of items that belonged to Allen, according to investigators with the St. Louis Major Case Squad.

Lawsuit

Ken Allen, who was a co-owner of Meramec Recovery Center Inc., was a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in August that alleged members of the Franklin County Drug Court conspired to convince a judge and the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA) to terminate Meramec Recovery Center’s contract as treatment provider for the drug court.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Allen said after her father filed the lawsuit against the county he felt “terror.” The family received harassing phone calls and cars with no license plates drove past his house and office.

The suit was dismissed in December 2016 at the request of the plaintiffs. Jan Allen and Meramec Recovery Center Inc. also were listed as plaintiffs in the case.

Missourian staff writer Monte Miller contributed to this article.