DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Missouri

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Jeffrey B. Jensen
, United States Attorney
Contact: Terri Dougherty

Man Sentenced to 50 Years Imprisonment for Committing Three Drug-Related Homicides

St. Louis, MO - Jacobi Temple, 27, of Saint Louis, MO, was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for his for his killing of James Lacey, Paige Schaefer, and Tammie Thurmond on March 27, 2015.  Mr. Lacey and Ms. Schaefer were shot and killed inside a residence located in the 4400 block of Itaska in the City of Saint Louis.  Ms. Thurmond was found by police in an alley behind the 4200 block of South 37th Street.  She died a short time later. 

 

Temple was sentenced on one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and two counts of discharge of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking where deaths resulted.  United States District Court Judge John A. Ross imposed the sentence.

 

According to court documents, Temple, along with his two co-defendants, Demante Syms and Samuel Spires, traveled in a vehicle to the area of 4467 Itaska Street.  Temple went there to obtain payment for heroin previously distributed by him that had not been paid for.  Temple learned of the 4467 Itaska location from Tammie Thurmond who was the mother of Paige Schaefer.  While inside 4467 Itaska demanding payment, Temple shot and killed James Lacey and Paige Schaefer.  A third occupant, Brittney Brown, was shot in the head and severely injured.  Shortly after, Temple, Syms and Spires located Ms. Thurmond.  Temple took Ms. Thurmond to an alley, then shot and killed her. 

 

After being shot in the head inside the Itaska residence, Brittney Brown struggled to, but successfully contacted 911.  Ms. Brown survived but was hospitalized for a significant period of time.  While hospitalized (and continuing after her release), Ms. Brown provided invaluable support and assistance to law enforcement officials.  Ms. Brown provided a powerful, moving victim impact statement during today’s sentencing for the court’s consideration in fashioning an appropriate sentence:

 

“After 21 years of being uncertain of who I was, [Temple’s] actions changed that for me.  I was stripped down to my core; you took away my worth, privacy, energy, time, safety and my confidence.  Do you know how that feels?  I do because of [Temple].  The one thing [Temple] did not take away was my voice, and with that, I found my wounds led me to my purpose, and I was able to change this tragic event into something positive.  There were many bumps along the way, but I refuse to let them, [Temple] or my circumstances define me.  Today, I love myself for who I am -- scars and imperfections.  I have learned to be a better person.  I have learned to show compassion because you never know how you might influence someone’s life.  I believe in miracles, because I am one…I have somehow managed to piece together all of the broken pieces that [Temple] left for me…

 

One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.  I was brave, strong, and broken all at once, and I pulled through…The fact that I am standing here today, sober, walking, talking and living my life, is proof that I am not what happened to me.  I am what I choose to become.  Today I choose to be a survivor, not a victim.

 

I am a woman of substance; don’t define me by the way I look.  I am way more than meets the eye.  Define me by the tough battles that I fight each and every day.  Define me by the courage that I have found to face [Temple] no matter how difficult.  I will survive despite any struggle because I am strong through and through.”

    

Temple’s sentencing is the last of the three named defendants.  It concludes a three-plus year investigation and federal prosecution resulting in the convictions of all three charged participants.  Syms and Spires were previously sentenced to terms of life and 20 years imprisonment, respectively.  Likewise, the investigation resulted in the separate prosecution and convictions of Syms and his mother, Tabitha Hunt, for witness tampering in connection with the underlying homicide investigation.  Tabitha Hunt was previously sentenced to a period of supervised release.  

 

United States Attorney Jeff Jensen again applauded the courage of Ms. Brown and the commitment of the investigative team, “it is impossible to understate the importance of strong people like Ms. Brown who courageously stand up to violent offenders like Jacobi Temple.  She epitomizes the good people of St. Louis that our violent crime initiative seeks to help.”

 

St. Louis, MO - Jacobi Temple, 27, of Saint Louis, MO, was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for his for his killing of James Lacey, Paige Schaefer, and Tammie Thurmond on March 27, 2015.  Mr. Lacey and Ms. Schaefer were shot and killed inside a residence located in the 4400 block of Itaska in the City of Saint Louis.  Ms. Thurmond was found by police in an alley behind the 4200 block of South 37th Street.  She died a short time later.  
 
Temple was sentenced on one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and two counts of discharge of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking where deaths resulted.  United States District Court Judge John A. Ross imposed the sentence.
 
According to court documents, Temple, along with his two co-defendants, Demante Syms and Samuel Spires, traveled in a vehicle to the area of 4467 Itaska Street.  Temple went there to obtain payment for heroin previously distributed by him that had not been paid for.  Temple learned of the 4467 Itaska location from Tammie Thurmond who was the mother of Paige Schaefer.  While inside 4467 Itaska demanding payment, Temple shot and killed James Lacey and Paige Schaefer.  A third occupant, Brittney Brown, was shot in the head and severely injured.  Shortly after, Temple, Syms and Spires located Ms. Thurmond.  Temple took Ms. Thurmond to an alley, then shot and killed her.  
After being shot in the head inside the Itaska residence, Brittney Brown struggled to, but successfully contacted 911.  Ms. Brown survived but was hospitalized for a significant period of time.  While hospitalized (and continuing after her release), Ms. Brown provided invaluable support and assistance to law enforcement officials.  Ms. Brown provided a powerful, moving victim impact statement during today’s sentencing for the court’s consideration in fashioning an appropriate sentence:
 
“After 21 years of being uncertain of who I was, [Temple’s] actions changed that for me.  I was stripped down to my core; you took away my worth, privacy, energy, time, safety and my confidence.  Do you know how that feels?  I do because of [Temple].  The one thing [Temple] did not take away was my voice, and with that, I found my wounds led me to my purpose, and I was able to change this tragic event into something positive.  There were many bumps along the way, but I refuse to let them, [Temple] or my circumstances define me.  Today, I love myself for who I am -- scars and imperfections.  I have learned to be a better person.  I have learned to show compassion because you never know how you might influence someone’s life.  I believe in miracles, because I am one…I have somehow managed to piece together all of the broken pieces that [Temple] left for me…
 
One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.  I was brave, strong, and broken all at once, and I pulled through…The fact that I am standing here today, sober, walking, talking and living my life, is proof that I am not what happened to me.  I am what I choose to become.  Today I choose to be a survivor, not a victim.
 
I am a woman of substance; don’t define me by the way I look.  I am way more than meets the eye.  Define me by the tough battles that I fight each and every day.  Define me by the courage that I have found to face [Temple] no matter how difficult.  I will survive despite any struggle because I am strong through and through.” 
    
Temple’s sentencing is the last of the three named defendants.  It concludes a three-plus year investigation and federal prosecution resulting in the convictions of all three charged participants.  Syms and Spires were previously sentenced to terms of life and 20 years imprisonment, respectively.  Likewise, the investigation resulted in the separate prosecution and convictions of Syms and his mother, Tabitha Hunt, for witness tampering in connection with the underlying homicide investigation.  Tabitha Hunt was previously sentenced to a period of supervised release.  
 
United States Attorney Jeff Jensen again applauded the courage of Ms. Brown and the commitment of the investigative team, “it is impossible to understate the importance of strong people like Ms. Brown who courageously stand up to violent offenders like Jacobi Temple.  She epitomizes the good people of St. Louis that our violent crime initiative seeks to help.”
 
This case was investigated as part of the on-going effort between the United States Attorney’s Office, the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to address the violent crime within the City of Saint Louis. 
 
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