A St. Louis man has been convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer who was trying to protect his friend’s pawn shop during the 2020 protests over the murder of George Floyd.
Stephan Cannon was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain who was trying to protect his friend’s shop from burglars.
Dorn was 77 years old when he was killed in the early morning hours of June 3, 2020. He had gone to Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry at around 2:30 a.m. after an alarm had been triggered: the store was being robbed, and it was Dorn’s practice to respond to such alarms at the shop.
It was not a quiet night in St. Louis. Protests sparked by Floyd’s murder in police custody in Minneapolis not 10 days earlier were still going strong, and on the night Dorn died, four other officers were also reportedly shot. Dozens of area businesses were also burglarized or damaged, according to reports.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Dorn’s final moments were streamed on Facebook Live, and the man who recorded the video could be heard repeatedly pleading with Dorn to stay alive.
“Stay with me, OG!” he said, later adding: “All over some TVs.”
Dorn died at the scene. He had been with the St. Louis Police Department for 38 years.
Cannon, then 24, was arrested five days later and charged with first-degree murder.
He was convicted by a jury more than two years later. The verdict was announced Wednesday, at the end of a three-day trial, according to local CBS affiliate KMOV. Prosecutors had presented DNA evidence linking Cannon to the scene as well as testimony from homicide detectives and forensic experts. Cannon’s defense tried to point the finger at Mark Jackson, a prosecution witness who had also been linked to the crime scene.
“I’ll say pretty much anything to get out of these cuffs and get back to my son,” Jackson reportedly told police during an interrogation, KMOV reported. “I’ll witness whatever you want me to witness.”
Cannon’s defense attorney Brian Horneyer reportedly emphasized that quote, calling Jackson a “serial liar” and arguing that Jackson was the only person tying Cannon to Dorn’s death.
Prosecutor Marvin Teer played audio tape of another witness, Elicia Beaver, telling police during an interrogation that she recalled that Cannon had been “talking about how crazy the night was and all the things I could have got.”
“He said he went to Lee’s and some crazy stuff happened there,” Beaver said, per KMOV. “His words were ‘it went down at Lee’s.'”
The jury reportedly took three hours to deliberate. Cannon did not testify on his own behalf.
Members of Dorn’s family told reporters that the jury got it right.
“It was a relief,” Dorn’s widow Ann Marie Dorn told reporters outside the courthouse in St. Louis following the verdict, according to a report from local CBS affiliate KMOV. “That’s what I was hoping for, that’s what I asked for.”
One of Dorn’s daughters told reporters that the conviction will allow the family to move forward.
“It was just undoubtable that he was guilty,” Lisa Dorn said, according to KMOV. “We look forward to moving on and our dad resting in peace.”
Cannon’s lawyer reportedly told KMOV that he intends to appeal the verdict.
In a statement, the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said that the conviction amounted to justice for Dorn and his family.
“While nothing can bring Captain Dorn back to his loved ones, Mr. Cannon has been held accountable for his crimes committed in the City of St. Louis, and justice has been served,” the statement said.
— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) July 20, 2022
KMOV reported that Ann Dorn is not pressing for the death penalty, although Missouri law does allow for capital punishment. The victim’s wife reportedly said that a life sentence in prison is an acceptable sentence.
Sentencing for Cannon has been set for Sept. 13.
[Images via St. Louis Police.]
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