Man to die by lethal injection for 1998 murders at Columbia restaurant

Friday, August 8, 2014 | 8:25 p.m. CDT; updated 8:54 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 8, 2014
A bench issued in memory of JoAnna Baysinger sits outside Ruby Tuesday on Friday. Baysinger was one of two people murdered at the restaurant in 1998.

COLUMBIA — A small green sign that reads “In Memory of JoAnna Baysinger” stands in front of Ruby Tuesday’s as the only reminder of the double homicide that took place there.

On July 4, 1998, an employee at the restaurant on Bernadette Drive discovered the bodies of JoAnna Baysinger and Dennis Poyser. Police arrested Earl Ringo Jr. and his accomplice Quentin Jones Jr. on two charges of first-degree murder on July 13, 1998.

Ringo, of Jeffersonville, Ind., was sentenced to death July 26, 1999. And on Thursday — 16 years after the homicide — the Missouri Supreme Court set his execution date for Sept. 10.

On the morning of the double murder, Baysinger, a manager-in-training at the restaurant, was found dead on the floor with a gunshot to the head. Her body lay next to an open safe, which was short about $1,400 after Ringo and Jones had robbed the restaurant. Poyser's body was found in the restaurant's closed walk-in cooler. He, too, had been slain by a gunshot to the head.

Jones is serving a life sentence without parole after testifying under a plea agreement that Ringo planned the robbery and encouraged him to kill Baysinger, according to the Associated Press. Ringo denies that he encouraged Jones to kill Baysinger.

If Ringo is executed, it will be the eighth Missouri execution this year. Missouri is tied with Texas and Florida in the highest number of executions this year at seven a piece.

Supervising editor is Samuel Hardiman.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.