Youth Gets Life in School Murder

He Killed Classmate at Christian Academy

St. Louis Post-Dispatch/June 11, 1997

An Arkansas teen-ager was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for killing a classmate at a rural Missouri school for troubled youths.

Anthony G. Rutherford, 19, of Siloam Springs, Ark., was convicted last month of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. The case was moved to Pulaski County on a change of venue.

Rutherford is one of two teens charged in the death of William A. Futrelle II at the Mountain Park Baptist Church and Boarding Academy in March 1996.

Joseph S. Burris, 16, of Los Angeles, faces the same charges. His trial is expected to begin the week of June 30.

Rutherford had waived his right to a jury trial, allowing Pulaski County Circuit Judge Douglas Long Jr. to decide his fate. In return, the prosecution waived the death penalty.

In addition to life in prison without parole, the judge sentenced Rutherford to 50 years in prison for the armed criminal action conviction, to run consecutively.

During trial, Wayne County Prosecutor Jon Kiser relied heavily on a videotaped confession Rutherford gave police the night of the killing.

In the videotape, Rutherford said he wanted to kill Futrelle to prevent him from getting in the way of his plan to take over the school and start a cult like the Branch Davidians.

Futrelle, 16, of Boca Raton, Fla., was found dead in a wooded area at the boarding school near Patterson, Mo., about 110 miles south of St. Louis. His throat was slashed and his head beaten repeatedly.

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