Bill Prewitt died in bed of two gunshots to the head during an early morning thunderstorm.
A jury said his wife and high-school sweetheart, Patricia Prewitt, pulled the trigger.
A new television series that premieres at 6 p.m. central time Jan. 7 on the Oxygen network will take a second look. The Prewitts, from Lee’s Summit before they moved to Holden, Mo., to run a hardware store, will be the subjects of the two-hour opening episode of “Final Appeal” from NBC News Peacock Productions.
The Feb. 18, 1984, murder of 35-year-old William Edward Prewitt shocked the community of Holden, near Warrensburg. The arrest of Patricia Prewitt was also shocking. People in Holden considered them an all-American couple. They mortgaged their home and paid $64,000 for the lumber and supply business. She was a PTA room mother and was elected president of the Holden Chamber of Commerce. He organized summer baseball games and was “as pleasant a fellow as you could find,” a business associate said. They had five kids.
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Patty Prewitt claimed an intruder entered their home that morning, shot her husband and attacked her with a knife. Her wounds did not require treatment. There was no sign of forced entry.
The prosecution at trial said Prewitt tried to dispose of the gun by throwing it into a pond on their 40-acre rural property. But, the state said, the gun stuck like a dart, forcing her to wade in and push it down. Prints matching boots belonging to Patty Prewitt were taken from the pond bed.
At trial, men with whom Patty Prewitt had affairs testified she had offered them money to kill her husband. She testified they were lying.
“I never wished him dead,” Prewitt testified about her husband. “We needed him too much. The kids needed him too much.”
Supporters of Patty Prewitt says she is innocent and blame an inadequate investigation and flawed trial.
The children were led screaming from the Pettis County courthouse in Sedalia when the jury’s verdict was announced: guilty of capital murder.
The prosecution had waived the death penalty, and Prewitt was sentenced to life in prison. A Missouri appeals court upheld the verdict.
Now 68, Prewitt is incarcerated in the women’s prison in Vandalia, Mo. She will not be eligible for parole for 19 more years.
A clemency petition for Prewitt was filed several years ago. Former Gov. Jay Nixon did not act on it. It is now before Gov. Eric Greitens.