Update: April 23, 2014 1:21 am EDT

 

Shortly after 12:01 am, on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, William Rousan was executed at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. William was 57 years of age. He was executed for his part in the murder of 67-year-old Charles Lewis and his wife 62-year-old Grace Lewis. The murder occurred on September 22, 1993 in Bonne Terre, Missouri. William spent the last 17 years of his life on Missouri's death row.

 

William Rousan, his son Brent, and his brother Robert got together on September 21, 1993, and decided to steal some cattle from Charles and Grace Lewis. The put together a plan and set out. On the way to the Lewis farm, the trio discussed killing Charles and Grace. They agreed that “if it had to be done it had to be done." They parked two miles from the farm, walking the rest of the way. Before they set out on foot, William removed a .22 caliber rifle, which belonged to his girlfriend Mary Lambing, with whom he lived. William loaded the rifle. William and Brent argued over who was to carry the gun, with Brent finally saying he was “man enough to do whatever needed to be done" and that he would use the weapon. William, after some hesitation, agreed and the group began walking.

 

During the walk, William made the comment that if they were caught, they would “fry.” Upon arriving at the home, the trio hid and waited behind a fallen tree.

 

Charles and Grace arrived home between 3 and 4 pm. Charles began mowing the lawn. Grace spoke to her daughter who called around 4 pm. It was around this time that Brent grew tired of waiting, exclaiming he wanted to “do it.”

 

William and Robert went to secure the house. Before they could do so, Charles saw Brent, who shot him six times, killing Charles. Grace told her daughter she heard gunshots and then hung up. Grace went to the door, where Brent shot her several times. Grace’s arms were fractured, but the injuries were not fatal. Grace ran back into the house, followed by William. William placed a garment bag over Grace’s head and upper body and took her outside, laying her on the ground. William told Brent to “finish her off.” Brent shot the left side of her head, killing her.

 

 

The bodies were wrapped in a tarp and tied with rope. The bodies were moved to near a shed, while they cleaned up the blood and shell casings. The trio came back later, along with Jerry, another brother, and loaded the bodies into Charles’ truck, along with the cattle. In addition to the two cows, they also stole a VCR, jewelry, soda, two gas cans, and a saddle. The four men returned to Mary’s farm, during which time, Brent bragged about the killings.

 

They buried the bodies in a shallow grave by the barn, poured concrete over the bodies, and covered the grave with a pile of manure. They also burned the rags used to clean up the blood. That night, they consumed the soda they stole. They later sold the cows at auction. The VCR was given to Robert’s sister and brother-in-law Barbara and Bruce Williams, the following day. They pawned it approximately eight months later. Personal items taken from Charles and Grace were buried. The jewelry was given to Mary as gifts during the year. The truck was hid and later burned.

 

Charles and Grace’s daughter was unable to get a hold of her parents the following day, prompting her to call the police who investigated the couple’s disappearance for nearly a year before they were able to arrest William, with the help of Bruce Williams. William was arrested on September 20, 1994.

 

William told police that he killed Charles and Grace out of mercy. William claims he first became acquainted with the couple in 1975, and then again in 1989, when they fed and clothed him after his escape from custody in Washington state. In 1993, after he was released from prison, he returned to their farm to thank them and rekindle their friendship. It was during that time that Charles asked William to put Grace, who was in poor health, out of her misery, and then to kill him because he did not want to live without his wife. Additionally, William claims he was to be paid $50,000 for killing Charles and Grace by their son, however, his primary motive was mercy.

 

Following a police investigation of Mary’s farm, during which time they found the bodies, William was charged with their murder. He was convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of Grace. He received a life sentence for the murder of Charles. Brent, who was 16 at the time of the crime and pled guilty, received two consecutive life sentences without parole. Robert, who also pled guilty and agreed to testify against his brother, received 15 years in prison.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Charles and Grace. Please pray for strength for the family of William Rousan. In a letter written us, William professed to be a child of God and that he had turned to Him in his time of need.

 

 

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