Trial begins in death of retired St. Louis police captain

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man accused of killing a retired St. Louis police captain while looting a store during a violent night prompted by racial injustice protests in 2020 is facing trial this week for first-degree murder.

Opening statements were held Monday in the trial of Stephen Cannon, 26, of Glasgow Village, who is accused of killing Capt. David Dorn, who was protecting a friend’s pawn shop during looting on June 2, 2020, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The shooting came on a night of violence across St. Louis after demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.

Dorn and four officers were shot, officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged across St. Louis during the protests.

“Along with the unrest that came — that civil unrest — came chaos,” Chief Trial Assistant Marvin Teer told jurors Monday. “And St. Louis was touched by it, too. … Our streets were ravaged with looters, with chaos, a pain set ablaze. With that legitimate pain came acts, many of which are unconscionable.”

Dorn, who was 77 when he died, served 38 years on the St. Louis force before working six years as chief in Moline Acres. His wife, Ann Dorn, said her husband often checked on alarms at the pawn shop because he was friends with the owner.

Prosecutors have said Cannon was one of several people looting the store that night. When Dorn arrived, Cannon went to a nearby corner, allegedly with a gun in his hand. Cannon, prosecutors said, was the only person on the corner when shots were fired and Dorn was hit.

Cannon’s attorney, Brian Horneyer, told jurors Monday that no physical evidence linked Cannon to the killing. He also said the state’s main witness, who is also charged with several felonies, told detectives he would say “anything” they wanted for a plea deal and to escape a murder conviction.

Prosecutors are expected to show jurors a Facebook livestream of the aftermath of Dorn’s death outside the store and will call Liddell Chapple, who recorded the video.

“Damn man, over some TVs, cuz? For real? That’s somebody’s granddaddy, cuz!” Chapple shouts on the video. Chapple then turns his phone to Dorn, gasping and bleeding out, and says “Rest in peace, bro. Nothin’ but love, bro. … You was doing the right thing.”

The trial is expected to last through the week.

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