Crime

Accused killer of SIUE student is arraigned

Michael Gordon was arraigned early Thursday morning in St. Louis County Court in connection with the murder of metro-east student Taylor Clark.

According to a St. Louis County Circuit Clerk’s Officer official, the arraignment took place electronically as Gordon, 24, remained in confinement in jail where he is being held on $1 million bail.

According to police, Gordon sought out Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student Taylor Clark Monday morning through a Craigslist ad. Clark was attempting to sell his 2007 Nissan 350 Z on the electronic advertising board and took it to Missouri to show Goron after completing a morning final exam.

Instead of purchasing the car, a spokesman for the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis said Gordon fatally shot the 19-year-old student in the parking lot of the Hazelwood, Mo. truck driving school where the suspect worked.

Gordon was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action.

Tim Fagan, a deputy commander with the Major Case Squad, said during a Wednesday press conference that Gordon has been in custody since Tuesday when a witness told police he saw Gordon get into Clark’s car. The witness told investigators Gordon came back alone a short time later.

Fagan said the meeting took place during Gordon’s lunch hour. The suspect allegedly shot Clark in the head one time and then drug him to a shallow grave where the victim was covered with dirt and leaves.

The murder weapon has not been found as of Thursday morning.

Police said Clark was an upstanding citizen who likely had no idea his life was in danger until the end.

“He trusted people,” SIUE civil engineering lecturer David Sherill told the News-Democrat. “He would have done anything for anybody.”

Sherill said Clark, an engineering student from St. Jacob, planned to spend the summer working as a land surveyor.

“He was a good kid with small town values,” Sherill said. “It’s hard for me to even think about.”

SIUE students held a vigil for their murdered classmate Wednesday evening.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or 618-239-2626. Follow him on Twitter: @scottwuerzBND.

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