|Debra Y. Dillard (mug shot HCSO)|
A jury in Wright County has convicted a woman from Moody of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for killing her daughter-in-law in November of 2009.
On November 13, 2009, a passerby called 9-1-1 to report a fatal car crash on Hwy FF near Missouri 142, but authorities were suspicious immediately because the fatal wounds to Becki Lynne Dillard, 24, suffered weren't from a car crash, but from two bullet wounds to the head.
Dillard's family told investigators that she left to buy makeup at Wal-Mart for her sister's birthday but she never made it to the party.
Investigators say that Debra Yvonne Dillard, 53, Becki's mother-in-law, told detectives that her boyfriend, Billy Joe Eastep, hated Becki and followed her down Highway FF and pulled her over.
Court documents say that Eastep began yelling at Dillard and as she turned to walk away from the confrontation he allegedly shot her in the back of the head. Sheriff Mike Shannon says that after Becki fell to the ground, Eastep walked over to where she lay and shot her once more in the head.
|Billy Joe Eastep (mug shot HCSO)|
Becki Dillard worked as a hairdresser at Wal-Mart in West Plains and had two little boys, Cobey 4, and Kryckett who had just turned 1 at the time of their mother's murder.
Howell County assistant prosecutor Josh Corman says that Justin Dillard testified during the week long trial that he and his mother were home watching a movie at the time of his wife's murder.
"The defendant confessed, then tried to retract her confession. In a written statement she said now Becki can't hurt anyone anymore. She's [Debra Dillard] probably the only one that can tell you why she did it," said Corman.
Eastep, 42, who is also charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for Becki Dillard's murder, is scheduled to stand trial in March.
Debra Dillard will be sentenced on April 8th, but it will merely be a formality on the armed criminal action charge because the only sentence available on a first-degree murder conviction is life without the possibility of parole. Her trial was moved from Howell County to Wright County on a change of venue.