Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Murdered after Runaway Teen-Ager Returns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents Murdered after Runaway Teen-Ager Returns

Article excerpt

The youngster wanted out of 11th grade, wanted away from his parents in the small Kentucky farming town where his family had lived for generations.

So Derek McStoots - who, at 16, was on that thin line between adolescence and adulthood - took his father's pickup and ran away from home. He made it as far as Daytona Beach, Fla., before his parents brought him back.

Hours later, Derek ran away again. This time, though, there was no chance his parents would come after him.

He killed them, police say.

Bradford McStoots, 45, was shot once in the head as he slept, then beaten with the boy's hunting rifle. Mary Coleen Kerr McStoots, 44, was awakened by the shot and bludgeoned so severely with the rifle that its wooden stock shattered. Her body was found in the hall.

Derek, a small-framed only child in a family of husky men, was captured Tuesday outside a pawn shop in Sulphur Springs, Texas, about 75 miles from Dallas, while driving his mother's Buick. Authorities believe he was trying to sell some items taken from his home in Leitchfield.

The boy was charged with murder.

The crime startled Derek's hometown of 5,000 people, about 65 miles southwest of Louisville. His parents belonged to long-established families in the area. Police said there never were any reports of abuse at home.

"What would enrage one's mind?" asked Coroner Ronald Hudson, who performed the autopsies and had also sold the McStootses furniture from his store downtown. "How do you beat your mommy and daddy?"

No clear motive has emerged, but there were hints of a sometimes stormy relationship with his parents.

Derek had been smoking marijuana for about a year, the coroner said, and spent 16 days in June in a drug rehab center.

Only last week, Mary McStoots caved in to Derek's year of pleas and agreed to let him drop out of Grayson County High. …

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