Phillip Shaw

The Truth

“On May 10, 1995, a group of friends was shooting craps in the basement of the residence at 3932 Blaine in urban St. Louis. The group included Eugene Perkins, Keith Macon, Castidel Wooten, and Shaw’s co-defendant at trial, Rodney Smith. Smith discussed a plan to rob
an acquaintance, Burston, who was expected to join in the craps game later. Burston was known to wear much jewelry and carry cash on his person. Perkins and Wooten agreed to participate in the plan. Their role was to shoot craps with Burston while Smith was hiding. Smith would then emerge and rob Burston.”

“Burston eventually arrived at the craps game. Shortly thereafter, the group was told to leave the basement, whereupon they decided to relocate their game to a vacant house across the street at 3931 Blaine. At this point, Smith told Perkins he was going to get defendant to assist
in the robbery. Perkins, Wooten, and Burston continued the game in the vacant house, where they were joined by newcomers Aubrey Williams and William Ruffin.”

“Defendant and Smith entered the vacant house through a rear window. Defendant was armed with a .357 caliber handgun, Smith with a .44. Rather than attempting to rob Burston, the two defendants immediately began shooting at him. Burston sustained nine gunshot wounds to various parts of his body. He died from shots to the head and chest. Frank Stubitz, a firearms examiner for the City of St. Louis Police Department, testified that two, possibly three, bullets found in the victim’s body were fired from defendant’s gun. When the police found Burston’s body, his shoes were missing and he was not wearing any jewelry.”

State v. Shaw, 14 S.W.3d 77, 80 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999).

Anti-JLWOP Activist’s Version

“Phillip was with a group of older boys in an abandoned building when one of them was shot by two masked gunmen. Phillip immediately ran home and called the police.”

Equal Justice Initiative, Cruel and Unusual: Sentencing 13- and 14-Year-Old Children to Die in Prison, page 30 (2007).

Research from the Heritage Foundation’s Adult Time For Adult Crime.