Southeast Missouri Man Found Guilty of Abduction & Murder

MARCH 5, 2004 - Posted at 11:35 a.m. CDT

NEW MADRID, MO - A southeast Missouri jury may decide today whether Mark Anthony Gill should spend the rest of his life in prison or die  for killing Ralph Lape, Jr. in 2002.

Gill, who is from Cape Girardeau, was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges.

Police say Gill and a second suspect, Justin Brown, entered Lape's Jackson home on July 8, 2002, and forced him into a pickup truck.  Lape was later shot in the head and buried near Portageville.

Investigators with Cape Girardeau County's Major Case Squad followed the trail of Lape's bank debit card, which Gill allegedly used until he was arrested in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Brown's murder trial is expected to begin September 7.

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