Police: Deadly holdup at Maggie O'Brien's was an inside job
By Kim Bell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
UPDATED, 11:40 a.m. Friday, June 12, with interview with suspect's wife
ST. LOUIS -- Police have confirmed that the botched robbery that led to the death June 1 of a bartender at Maggie O'Brien's was an "inside job" by another worker who helped plan the heist.
The fourth and final suspect was identified Friday as Stephen D. Hornbuckle, 35, of East St. Louis, who has worked at the popular bar for 10 years. Police allege he gave the three robbers crucial details: where the cash drawers were, who was in charge of the cash, where the exits were and the best time to commit the robbery.
Hornbuckle wasn't at the bar the night of the holdup, but police say he did consult with the robbers before the crime. And he was even on the phone with them, to give them more direction, when they made a brief stop at the pub for a beer about 11 p.m. June 1, to case the place. The robbers returned a half-hour later, brandished guns and ordered three employees and two patrons to the floor inside the bar at Market and 20th streets.
Police arrested Hornbuckle as he returned to work Wednesday, his first day back on the job since the murder. Over the years, Hornbuckle worked as a dishwasher, a bus boy and bartender, said his wife, Brenda Hornbuckle.
When told of the allegations against her husband, Brenda Hornbuckle said: "I don't agree with it. Steve is not like that at all. The customers love him, all the guys love him. He's so free-spirited."
Killed in the botched holdup was bartender Mike Dolan, 32. He was shot twice in the back as he ran into a back room to try to get away from the robbers.
Hornbuckle was charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree murder, four counts of armed criminal action, one count of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery. (The two murder charges are for Dolan's death and the death of one robber).
Bail was set at $1 million for Hornbuckle. Hornbuckle was in court Friday for an initial court appearance. His next court date is July 7.
Two men already have been charged in the case. They are:
* Devin Mosley, 26, of East St. Louis. Mosley was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, attempted robbery and four counts of armed criminal action.
* Jacson Baker, 30, of O'Fallon, Ill. Baker was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, attempted robbery and four counts of armed criminal action.
Mosley (left) and Baker (right)
The third alleged robber, Derrick Bell of St. Louis, was shot during the crime and died. Police say the bullet that killed Bell came from the gun of one of his accomplices, Mosley.
Police don't anticipate any more arrests in the case. Everyone who was involved is now in custody, police say.
Police said Friday that they learned fairly early in their investigation that Hornbuckle was involved. Before the holdup attempt, Hornbuckle had talked to Bell and given him extensive details to help plan the crime. And when Bell and Mosley were inside the pub, Bell even called Hornbuckle once more and was given more information about the people working in the bar at the time.
Baker was the lookout. He drove the vehicle to Maggie O'Brien's and watched outside for police. And when Bell was shot inside the pub, Baker is the one who drove Bell to the hospital and dropped him off, police say.
As the robbers held bar patrons and employees at gunpoint, Mosley took one person's wallet, police say.
Erica Van Ross, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Police Department, said homicide detectives cracked the case with a lot of help from the public. Police got many tips from people.
"The steady flow of information caused our dedicated detectives to work many hours on little sleep -- never wanting to leave a "fresh" lead," Van Ross said in a news release Friday.
Brenda Hornbuckle said her husband was at home the night of the murder, a Monday, which was his normal night off. She woke him up when the phone calls started coming in from friends who heard about the murder on the news. "He was really puzzled, in disbelief, " she said. The Hornbuckles both went to Dolan's funeral and to the burial site, she said.
Brenda Hornbuckle said she and her husband have two daughters, ages 13 and 10, and a son, "little Steve," who is 6. She said she hasn't told the children about their father's arrest yet. She said she is trying to find a lawyer to represent her husband.