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.