Death Investigation

         On 07/20/13, Crawford County Deputies along with members of the Missouri Highway Patrol and State Conservation Agents responded to an area west of Steelville Missouri for a report of a man being shot. The reporting party stated that a man came to her home located near the Meramec River, at the end of Hwy T, approximately 1 mile west of the Hwy 19 Bridge. The caller stated that the man asked her to call 911 because he had just shot someone on the river.

    Upon arrival, law enforcement officials located several people on a gravel bar next to the river. They were led to a man lying on the ground bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

    Officers began giving aid to the victim while other officers began their investigation as to what had happened. According to numerous witnesses on the scene, an argument ensued between some men over whether one of the men was standing on private property or public property. Witnesses stated the argument escalated and at one point one of the men pulled a gun and fired several shots striking one of the men in the head.

     The wounded man was identified as 48 year old Paul Dart Jr., from the Franklin County area. He was transported from the scene and taken to Hutson’s Funeral Home in Steelville Mo., where he was pronounced dead by Crawford County Coroner Paul Hutson. 

     The shooter was taken into custody and was identified as 59 year old James R. Crocker of Steelville Missouri. On 07/21/13, The Crawford County Prosecutor filed charges and a warrant for Crocker was issued for his arrest. The warrant was for Murder in the 2nd Degree, RSMO 559.020, a class A felony. Bond was set at $650,000.00 cash only.

     Crocker remains in custody at the Crawford County Jail in lieu of bond. All parties in this case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Sheriff, Randy E. Martin


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