If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Please enter your email and we will send your username and password to you.
By MICHAEL BOYD Jr.
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
The unsolved murder from over 30 years ago of a widely-popular, young southeast Missouri woman will be back in the spotlight as a professional, award-winning, film-production company was in town last week taping video of the Ste. Genevieve County courthouse and other buildings around the downtown square of Ste. Genevieve.
Bungalow Media + Entertainment, a major entertainment company with numerous documentaries and film credits seen on a variety of top networks, sent a crew here to take ground footage as well as aerial shots via a drone.
The crew briefly chatted with the Herald while doing so.
The documentary will be about the 1992 murder of teenager Angela Mischelle Lawless of Benton, but was unclear how they are focusing on it.
Lawless, known to many friends throughout several Missouri and Illinois counties as either Mischelle or Shelly, was a 19-year-old freshman at Southeast Missouri State University. She was shot and killed sometime in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 1992, as the murder rocked the entire southeast Missouri region, especially her hometown of Benton, as well as Kelly High School and SEMO.
The case was thought to be solved as a Ste. Genevieve County jury made a conviction nearly two years later, but that conviction was overturned many years after that.
Lawless’ body was discovered inside her car at the 80-mile-marker exit off Interstate 55 North just about a mile from both the Scott County seat of Benton and Kelly High where she graduated.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department, then headed by Sheriff Bill Ferrell, later arrested Keezer, who is around Lawless’ age, after a seven-month investigation.
Keezer’s murder trial in June 1994 had been moved to Ste. Genevieve County on a change of venue due to the high degree of publicity of Lawless’ murder in Scott County.
According to Herald reports, sworn statements by two of Keezer’s friends who were inmates at the Scott County Jail helped the local jury convict Keezer after just 3-1/2 hours of deliberation by the local jury.
The prosecution presented no physical evidence to link Keezer to the murder, but based its case on the testimony of five witnesses who claimed Keezer bragged about the crime.
Keezer showed no emotion during the five-day trial, but sobbed “I didn’t do it,” after the jury returned the guilty verdict on second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Keezer’s 60-year conviction later was overturned by a judge in 2009 after new Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter reopened the case after mistakes were found in both the original investigation by Ferrell and his deputies, as well as the trial by the Scott County prosecutor.
After his release, Keezer eventually settled a lawsuit against Ferrell, Scott County and the county’s law enforcement for $4 million.
Ferrell and Walter both are now retired from law enforcement.
The Bungalow film crew said the documentary would air on Sundance TV sometime in 2024.
Bungalow, according to its website, is an integrated entertainment company that develops, produces, and distributes content across all media platforms — television, film, digital media, commercial and live events.
Bungalow creates and produces for a variety of networks, pay TV networks and platforms including Showtime, Netflix, NBC, PBS, Lifetime, History, The Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, and EPIX, as well as FOX, HBO MAX, Showtime, discovery+, Oxygen: True Crime, Sundance TV, and AMC.
Some of Bungalow’s work includes the Death of Bruce Lee, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park, and The Real SVU, among many others.
Lawless’ murder also been the focus of numerous stories and as well as a podcast solely dedicated to solving her murder.