Talking about hardcore criminals, you’d be mistaken not to mention a St. Louis man who’s on his prime yet he still manages to slit people’s throats.
The man who had been paroled from prison after murdering three people in the 1970s is heading back after he decided that he needed to take more lives by killing a woman he said he suspected of stealing from him at his St. Louis apartment complex.
The man has been identified as Torrance C. Epps, 79, pleaded guilty on Monday to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, assault, two-gun charges and two counts of armed criminal action. The St. Louis Circuit Judge Dennis Schaumann accepted terms of a deal with prosecutors and sentenced Epps to 18 years in prison.
Epps was asked by the judge to explain why he rolled his wheelchair through Lafayette Towne senior housing complex on the 19th of Jan. where he was residing, killing Tiandra Johnson, 32, in the complex’s office. In response, Epps alleged that he saw Johnson watch him leave earlier that day and suspected her of entering his apartment with a backup key from the office to rob him off.
“It was my life savings,” Epps said from his wheelchair Monday.
“Is that a reason to shoot somebody?” Schaumann asked.
“I was awfully upset,” Epps said. “I’m awfully sorry.”
He also told Schaumann that he had “no doubt” about pleading guilty. After the judge read each charge, Epps responded emphatically, “Guilty as charged.”
He was also asked whether he had any health problems, he told the judge he took “plenty” of medications to treat four blood clots stemming from being hit by a bus.
Authorities claim that Epps had reported about missing items at his apartment and a break-in in the days before the shooting. Epps fired several shots at a woman near her apartment, he then went to the leasing office and pointed a revolver at another person before shooting Johnson. The incident unfolded around 1 P.M.
Police found Johnson, who lived in the 3800 block of McRee Avenue, dead in a hallway of the senior housing complex at 1410 Ohio Avenue. Epps had earlier on been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the fatal shootings on Dec. 3, 1973, where he killed three of his wife’s relatives in their home in the 2900 block of Franklin Avenue, now Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Epps also killed his wife’s mother, Pauline Clark, 44, and his wife’s grandparents, Matthew and Pauline Sherman, both 72, with a revolver. He had also been searching for his wife and son, the wife left him after he beat her. Following more than a week of futile searching, he bought into the idea that his in-laws were helping hide them. He then went to a police station, where he demanded that officers help, after-which he went to the in-laws’ home with a gun.
Epps had been locked up for 14 years after being paroled back-in September 1988. He escaped after one month and became a fugitive for eight years. However, he was arrested in a food stamp fraud crackdown after paying an undercover federal agent $380 for $615 in food stamps, he was then taken back to prison, until 2003 when he was paroled.