MOUNT VERNON, Mo. -- The Lawrence County prosecutor says a Marionville police officer was justified when he shot and killed a man from Springfield last summer. Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter's ruling agrees with an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Marionville Reserve Officer Danny Hughes went to the Applelane Apartments on Saturday, June 30, after dispatchers got a report a man was holding a woman hostage. The man was Adam Bergseth, 37, of Springfield.
Bergseth had a large pair of scissors and threatened the officer with them. Trotter says the Highway Patrol found that Hughes gave Bergseth repeated warnings to drop the scissors. The officer kept backing up, the 200-page report says, as Bergseth kept approaching him.
Hughes finally could back up no farther, Trotter says, because he was up against a wall. The prosecutor says Bergseth said, in effect, "I'm not going to drop the scissors, so what are you going to do about it?" Hughes finally shot Bergseth to protect himself, Trotter says.
Hughes, who has experience in other police departments, was on administrative leave from the Marionville department for about eight weeks. Even though the Highway Patrol didn't send its report to Trotter until mid-October, the prosecutor gave Marionville Police Chief Mark Webb permission to let Hughes return to work in late August.
Bergseth's death took a strange turn four days after he was shot to death. On July 3, police found the remains of a woman, Kelly Frech, 27, of Florida, in a trash can behind Bergseth's rented home at 1231 W. Edgewood St. in Springfield. It turns out Frech likely died about four months before her remains were found. She was a friend of Bergseth, and lived in an apartment about a mile south of Bergseth's home.
Springfield police refuse to release any information about their investigation of Frech's death, including whether detectives think she was murdered or may have simply died during a party at Bergseth's home. Neighbors say large groups of people often were at Bergseth's home, and the groups never seemed to be the same people as previous groups.
Trotter says the Highway Patrol's report on the shooting in Marionville did not delve into the investigation of Frech's death in Springfield.