Three suspects allegedly acted in retaliation in the death of a well-known drug counselor in Franklin County.
New details were released Monday that paint a broader picture of the incidents leading up to the Nov. 3, 2016, death of Ken Allen Jr., 70.
In court documents dismissing a writ of mandamus against Franklin County Prosecutor Robert Parks, it states that the suspects Timothy D. Wonish, 32, Whitney D. Robins, 29, and Blake S. Schindler, 18, of the Union area, planned to kill Allen.
The plan was developed in retaliation for an incident that occurred two days prior to the killing when Allen allegedly took Schindler’s brother to the hospital as a result of an apparent drug overdose, according to court records.
Jefferson County Judge Darrell Missey released the information as part of the judgment ruling to dismiss a petition calling for Parks to disqualify himself in the criminal case against the three suspects.
The judgment states Parks informed the family of Ken Allen that there had been plans to retaliate against the victim.
The suspects are all charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter. A hearing in the criminal case is set for May 17 in front of 12th District Judge Michael S. Wright.
According to the court records, Allen was found lying in a pool of blood with his hands and feet bound behind him in his Washington area home.
The medical examiner’s report indicates Allen died from asphyxiation due to neck compressions.
Court records state that Robins made statements to investigators during her arrest admitting that she was present at the time of the killing and that she participated in tying up Allen’s legs.
The suspects were located at a residence shortly before midnight Nov. 4, 2016, 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.
Court records issued Monday state that when Schindler was arrested he was in possession of Allen’s credit cards, checkbooks and other documents allegedly taken from the victim’s home.
Court records state that Robins and Schindler are half siblings and are allegedly the niece and nephew of former Sheriff Gary Toelke. However, Toelke told The Missourian that Robins and Schindler are third cousins to him. Toelke explained that even though they are distant relatives, that was a factor when he requested the St. Louis Major Case Squad and FBI to investigate the homicide.
The court records also state that Wonish is engaged to Robins. According to Sheriff Steve Pelton the couple married while in custody Oct. 14, 2017.
Wonish and Robins have been in custody at the Franklin County Jail since their arrest in November 2016 and already have served more than 16 months.
Schindler was released on his own recognizance May 3, 2016, and ordered to wear a GPS tracking device.
Judge Wright was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court Friday, Jan. 26, to hear the case against Wonish, Robins and Schindler after Franklin County Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann recused himself from the case.
The suspects were indicted last year by a Franklin County grand jury on the charges of felony murder, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property in the death of Allen.
Under a plea deal they each would have served 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the burglary charge, and seven years on the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, which would have run concurrently. The receiving stolen property charge would have been dismissed.
The plea deals were rejected by former Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood in October 2017.
In January, the suspects agreed to a plea deal that dismisses a first-degree burglary charge if the defendants plead guilty to Class C felonies of receiving stolen property and involuntary manslaughter. Under the deal, the suspects would each serve two seven-year concurrent terms.
That deal was rejected by Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann, who was assigned to the case in December 2017. Later in January, Hellmann also recused himself.
Since then, the burglary and receiving stolen property charges have been dropped, and the defendants now are only charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Kathy Allen, the daughter of Ken Allen, has been calling for harsher charges and stiffer sentences for Wonish, Robins and Schindler.
In an email to The Missourian, she stated that the latest charge of involuntary manslaughter will not bring justice for the death of her father.