ST. MARTINS - Two days after police said a Cole County man gunned down his 9-year-old son in their home, residents of St. Martins signed a memorial photo, which featured a beaming Kyle Lueckenotte with his baseball team.
Josette Schulte took her two children to St. Martins Catholic Church on Monday afternoon to fill out one of many cards, which a sign reported would be tied to about 200 balloons to be set free after the boy’s funeral Wednesday. Schulte said her husband grew up with Douglas Lueckenotte, and her 9-year-old daughter, Alyssa, went to school with Kyle Lueckenotte.
“The children understand he’s gone but not why his father would do something like that,” Schulte said.
Cole County Sheriff’s Deputies did not return calls Monday about the killing. No information about the motive was available.
Cole County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Douglas D. Lueckenotte, 49, on suspicion of first-degree murder, first-degree assault and armed criminal action early Saturday morning. Lueckenotte, an employee of the Cole County Public Works Department, was being held Monday at the Biggs Forensic Unit of Fulton State Hospital, where he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, the Associated Press reported. Bond is set at $500,000.
Lueckenotte’s 16-year-old son called police to their red brick house just outside of St. Martins, about 10 miles west of Jefferson City with a population of 1,116, saying that his father shot his 9-year-old brother, according to a probable cause statement signed by Cole County Investigator Colin Murdick. When deputies arrived at 536 Kaylor Bridge Road, they found Lueckenotte unarmed on the back porch of the house and arrested him, according to the statement.
Deputies found Kyle Lueckenotte, 9, lying on the kitchen floor, with gunshot wounds to his right side and his lower back, according to the statement. He was pronounced dead by the Cole County medical examiner.
The 16-year-old brother told police he woke to screams from his younger brother to help him because their father had a gun, according to the statement. When he went downstairs, his father pointed a .270-caliber rifle at him, he told police. He wrenched the rifle from his father’s hands and broke it, stashing it in his room. The 16-year-old boy told police he loaded a .22-caliber rifle he kept in his room because “he feared for his life,” according to the statement.
“I shot my little boy,” Lueckenotte told police after they read him his Miranda warning, according to the statement.
Lueckenotte told investigators that he took his rifle from his bedroom closet and shot 9-year-old Kyle Lueckenotte in the side. He shot the boy a second time “to end his pain so he could ‘rest,’” and the boy fell to the floor, according to the statement.
Lueckenotte told police he sat down on some steps to wait for police to arrive.
Cole County Investigator Colin Murdick wrote in the statement that he asked Lueckenotte what he would have done with the rifle if his older son had not taken it from him.
“He said he would have probably killed (his 16-year-old son) and then killed himself,” Murdick wrote in the statement.
Patricia Joyce, Cole County Circuit judge, appointed Amanda Grellner, Osage County prosecuting attorney, as special prosecutor on the case because Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson knew Lueckenotte.
Grellner said she will decide whether to seek life without parole or the death penalty after the Cole County Sheriff’s Department completes its investigation. This will be Grellner’s first time prosecuting a first-degree murder case, Grellner said.
Lueckenotte divorced his wife, Rebecca, in 2003, and was granted primary physical custody of their children, according to Missouri Case.net.
Lueckenotte has no criminal record, and neighbors said there was no indication of any problems at the Lueckenotte home.
Leroy Knernschield, who lives a block down the road from the Lueckenotte house, sold the farm and the house 12 years ago to Douglas Lueckenotte, whom he knew since Lueckenotte was a baby.
Delores Knernschield, Leroy’s wife of 33 years, said Kyle Lueckenotte used to come to their house for ice cream, and they often saw his older brother, whom they described as “a hard worker,” baling hay on the farm.
Alyssa Schulte, 9, said while Kyle Lueckenotte, with whom she went to school, annoyed her sometimes, she will always remember him for his sense of humor.
“He made me laugh a lot,” Alyssa Schulte said.