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No death penalty for St. Louis religious store suspect

St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell said Friday in a statement to The Associated Press that he will seek life in prison without the possibility of parole for Thomas Bruce. (File)

St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell says he won't seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a woman and sexually assaulting two others inside a religious supplies store.

Bell said Friday in a statement to The Associated Press that he will seek life in prison without the possibility of parole for Thomas Bruce.

Bruce was charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the Nov. 19 attack at the Catholic Supply store near the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin. Authorities said he fatally shot 53-year-old Jamie Schmidt when she refused his sexual demands.

Bell expressed his opposition to the death penalty while campaigning last year, when he unseated 28-year incumbent Bob McCulloch.

James G'Sell, a deacon at Schmidt's church speaking on behalf of her family, says Schmidt's husband supports Bell's decision.

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