10 YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE MURDER OF GREENVILLE ATTORNEY
It was late on the afternoon of August 12, 1996 when a Greenville man shot and killed his ex-wife’s attorney at close range. For those involved in the Tom Meyer murder case those ten years have gone by quickly. Kelly McGinnis is nine-and-a-half years into a 60 year sentence he is serving in Menard Correctional Center for killing Meyer. He has a projected parole date of November 2031. McGinnis was additionally sentenced to ten years by a Fayette County jury for firing a shotgun into the desk of his attorney, Larry LeFevre of Vandalia. McGinnis had targeted Meyer, LeFevre and Judge Ann Callis believing they had conspired against him in his divorce case and child custody hearing.
Bond County Circuit Clerk John King was Greenville Chief of Police in 1996 and also a close personal friend of Tom Meyer. He told WGEL that he still misses the opportunity to pick up the phone and talk to his friend. From a professional standpoint, King admits that the time from August 12 until November 6 when McGinnis was captured was stressful for he and his officers. Meyer’s murder and McGinnis’ ability to escape capture attracted media attention to the case.
McGinnis’ children were attending Greenville schools at the time. King said McGinnis’ flight from police brought many things to light…including school security. Because cell phones were not as prevalent ten years ago, teachers at the Greenville Elementary School were given two-way radios and the building was essentially placed under lockdown.
King said courthouse security was also re-evaluated. He said one tough lesson was learned ten years ago. With Tom Meyer's murder, attorneys and judges realized that they could potentially be targets for violence.
Along with his private practice, Tom Meyer was also the attorney for the city of Greenville and was involved in the Greenville Airport Authority Board.
McGinnis paid two visits to his attorney’s office in Vandalia. The first came in September but he was unable to get past a locked door. It was during the second one in November 1996 that he fired shots at Larry LeFevre’s unoccupied desk. LeFevre had been hiding since McGinnis’ first attempt to find him. As he left, McGinnis was arrested by Vandalia police.