Cigarettes and lottery tickets were taken during Tuesday morning’s robbery of a Hannibal convenience store, but “evil” was the ultimate motive behind the holdup which cost a worker her life, according to Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis.
Davis offered that assessment during a Wednesday morning press conference at the Police Department, where he announced that two Hannibal men - 22-year-old Gary James Wiltermood III and 30-year-old Michael Alan Studer - face Class A felony murder charges in the second degree.
Charges were filed against the men Tuesday in the Marion County Associate Division of Circuit Court. Bond for Wiltermood and Studer was set at $500,000 cash only. The suspects are being held at the Marion County Jail.
Hannibal police are familiar with both suspects because of past criminal activity, said Davis without elaborating.
Davis praised detectives investigating the crime for their quick work, noting that Wiltermood was taken into custody early Tuesday. Studer, who Davis identified as the shooter, was arrested around 2 p.m.
According to Davis, Studer was wearing camouflage that included something over his face when he shot and killed 61-year-old Adrienne Arnett of Hannibal, who was standing behind a counter inside the Abel’s Quik Shop at 100 Shinn Lane when the fatal shot was fired. Davis declined to go into additional details regarding whether one or more shots were fired.
Video surveillance and public information helped police in their work, reported Davis, who added the investigation is ongoing.
Davis said the men entered the store with the intent of robbing it. After unsuccessfully attempting to break into the cash register, they wound up taking lottery tickets and cigarettes.
Davis did not know if either Wiltermood or Studer knew Arnett.
Arnett was discovered by a patron of the store around 3 a.m.
“She didn’t deserve what she got,” said Davis.
Asked if he believed the Abel’s store might have been targeted because Arnett was working alone, Davis said it is “possible.” Davis declined to be pulled into a discussion regarding the merits of convenience stores having more that one staff member on duty during overnight hours.
Acknowledging the community is in a state of “shock” following the act of violence, Davis stressed that it was an “isolated incident.” The chief pointed out that Hannibal averages just one homicide every two years.
“It’s not a common thing,” said Davis.