ST. LOUIS — City jurors on Wednesday found Stephan Cannon guilty of first-degree murder and several other charges in the 2020 killing of retired St. Louis police Capt. David Dorn.
After three hours of deliberation on the third day of evidence and testimony, Cannon, 26, of Glasgow Village, was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, burglary and three counts of armed criminal action in Dorn’s June 2, 2020, killing.
Dorn, 77, was shot outside Lee’s Jewelry & Pawn shop at 4123 Martin Luther King Drive when he showed up to stop looters who had descended on the business during violence and destruction that followed protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Prosecutors argued that as looters ransacked the shelves of the pawn shop that morning, Cannon fled to the street corner, crouched and fired 10 shots at Dorn, killing him as he approached the shop and fired off warning shots to stop the looters.
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“I’m very thankful to the jurors who saw the truth and all the evidence,” Dorn’s wife, Ann Dorn, said outside the courthouse after the verdicts. “And I want to thank Marvin Teer for doing a phenomenal job in prosecuting the case.”
She said justice was served.
“I don’t want to say we can move on,” she said. “There’s never going to be full closure, but it brings us peace.”
After Circuit Judge Theresa C. Burke read the verdicts, Teer, the lead prosecutor on the case, told reporters in the courtroom that “the whole situation is sad.”
“Nobody wins,” he said with tears in his eyes. “It’s sad, but at least there’s some closure for David and his family.”
Ann Dorn, herself a 28-year police veteran, said she sympathizes with Cannon’s family.
“I lost David, and now they’re losing a brother and a son,” she said. “I feel sorry for them, and my heart goes out to them as well because they lost, too.”
Cannon’s lawyer, Brian Horneyer, declined comment on the trial but said Cannon plans to appeal.
David Dorn was a friend of the shop’s owner and regularly checked on its burglar alarms typically tripped by critters or storms, Ann Dorn said.
He retired from St. Louis police in 2007 after 38 years and also served for six years as police chief in Moline Acres. His death drew attention nationwide, including from the White House.
Dorn’s final moments, as he lay dying on the sidewalk, were captured on a Facebook livestream. Liddell Chapple, the man who recorded the video, reacted in immediate disbelief that someone had killed Dorn over TVs. He testified to what he saw as a lack of value for human life “over materialistic stuff.”
During closing arguments Wednesday, Teer told the jury, “You know you really did something wrong when the streets come in on you. And the streets came in on Stephan Cannon right away. We played the (Facebook Live) video so you understood what the streets said. ‘We don’t do this! This ain’t us!’ The streets gave him up right away.”
The case was Teer’s first as the Circuit Attorney’s Office’s chief trial assistant, and he said it was his first trial of any kind in 22 years.
Horneyer argued in his closing arguments that police had “tunnel vision” in pegging Cannon as Dorn’s killer without physical evidence linking him to the pawn shop. Detectives, Horneyer said, relied on co-defendant Mark Jackson, 24, who initially lied to police and gave different versions of what happened before ultimately making a deal with prosecutors to testify against Cannon.
“This is a man who lies as easily as he breathes,” Horneyer said of Jackson.
Jackson’s testimony this week was perhaps the most important witness for the prosecution, as he was the only person directly placing Cannon inside and outside the pawn shop the morning of the homicide. Others identified Cannon on surveillance video at Lee’s, but Jackson said he drove Cannon to and from the shop.
Police found Jackson’s debit card on the floor of the ravaged pawn shop. When detectives interrogated him later about what happened, he changed his story several times before telling them he’d say anything they wanted to avoid a murder charge. He testified Tuesday that he was telling the truth at trial expecting only “to clear my name” and not testifying for a lenient sentence.
Cannon did not testify.
“While nothing can bring Capt. Dorn back to his loved ones, Mr. Cannon has been held accountable for the crimes committed in the City of St. Louis, and justice has been served,” Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said in a statement Wednesday.
Jackson has a hearing set for Thursday in his pending murder case. His lawyer said he expects prosecutors will drop the second-degree murder charge as part of Jackson’s agreement to testify against Cannon.
Cannon’s sentencing is set for Sept. 13. The mandatory sentence is life in prison without parole since prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.