Guilty on all charges, that was the word from the jury in the federal trial, in connection with a Heartland murder. Elain Kay Young and Katherine Mock were each convicted Monday of murder for hire and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Young is from Novinger and Mock is a native of Cassville, Mo. The duo were dog breeding associates. The charges relate to the murder of Young's husband, Melvin Griesbauer.
"I wasn't surprised that they'd be convicted," said Larry Logston, who was the Chief Deputy of Adair County at the time of the murder. He was the third person on scene.
"I knew they'd be convicted. I was pretty confident with our investigation. That everybody done a good job and did a thorough investigation."
Melvin Griesbauer was shot in the left cheek with a Winchester rifle. The murder happened in the early morning hours of March 23, 2006 in the barn on the property where the couple lived, shortly after Young picked him up from work.
The initial call for help came in as a suicide, but when deputies arrived and began their investigation, they noticed three things that convinced them otherwise.
-a cocked rifle near Griesbauer's body.
- Griesbauer's body was located 15 ft. outside the entrance of the barn, but there were shell casings from the rifle inside the barn, indicating that the body had been moved.
- A ski mask and gloves outside of Young's home.
"When we got to the scene, things just didn't add up as far as the body placement, the rifle location; it was kind, of a staged scene in the way the body was positioned, the way the rifle was positioned," said Logston.
"It was a case with a lot of moving parts and all the parts fit together," said Tom Dittmeier, the lead Assistant U.S. Attorney that prosecuted the case. "One of the more significant single pieces of evidence probably were that both defendants told the same story the night of the murder and that story was just not plausible in the face of the evidence."
Besides Griesbauer, Mock and Young were the only people at the residence the night of the murder. The rifle belonged to Elain Kay Young. The ski mask and gloves were traced to Katherine Mock. The gloves tested positive for gunshot residue.
Mock was arrested on Mar. 30, 2006 just seven days after the murder. She was initially charged with first degree murder. Elain Kay Young wasn't arrested until Mar. 17, 2008, and she was initially charged with first degree murder as well.
From 2006 to 2012, investigators from several law enforcement agencies spent more than 2,000 hours collecting evidence. This allowed the U.S. Attorney's Office to prove that both Mock and Young planned and committed the murder, and that they used facilities of interstate commerce to cash in on Griesbauer's $1.2 million life insurance settlement.
"We're pleased with the conviction," said Dittmeier. "Everybody put in a lot of hard work on it for six years and it was a good jury that listened to the evidence mostly and they returned the right verdict."
If you're wondering why this case took so long to go to trial, Dittmeier says that can be attributed to several factors.
- It took a little more than three years to get enough evidence to sustain a federal case.
- Elain Kay Young changed her lawyer, forcing a major delay.
-When the case was supposed to go to trial in the fall of 2011, Mock's lawyer got sick and the trial was then delayed another six months.
"The most important thing I think that will come of this...a lot of people don't know, Mr. Griesbauer had children. So this insurance money has been tied up this whole time. So now this insurance money will be able to go to Griesbauer's children and secure their future. That's probably the best thing. "
The defense attorneys representing Mock and Young did not return my request for an interview.
Katherine Mock and Elain Kay Young could now face up to life in prison.