SeMo Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Butler County Murder Case

February 19, 2004 - Posted at 7:21 a.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF, MO - Prosecutors say they'll seek the death penalty against a Poplar Bluff man if he's convicted of raping and murdering a woman last summer.

Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour has filed the paperwork in the case against 20-year-old Brian Hemphill.

Hemphill is charged with murder, armed criminal action and rape in the death of 45-year-old Cheryl Hesselrode on July 20.  Her body was found in an abandoned railroad tunnel.

An autopsy reportedly determined Hesselrode was stabbed 30 times.

Hemphill's next scheduled court appearance is March 2.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)