By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County State's Attorney Douglas R. Hoffman formally filed murder charges Thursday in connection with Tuesday night's stabbing incident at the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsman's Club.
Sammy R. Kehrer, 47, of Mt. Vernon, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, in which the state's attorney alleges Kehrer stabbed Eric Houser, 37, of Mt. Vernon, in the chest with a knife, causing his death.
Kehrer is being held in the Jefferson County Justice Center under $3 million bond. He is expected to appear in video court today to formally be advised of the charges and his constitutional rights, according to Hoffman.
Kehrer was initially charged with aggravated battery.
In discussing the upgraded charges, Hoffman said, “The investigation is ongoing and continuing now and into the future. We reached a point where evidence provided probable cause for these charges.”
If convicted, Kehrer could be sentenced from 20 to 60 years in prison on each count.
The incident happened shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday outside the club. Authorities have not indicated what may have led to the altercation. Kehrer and Houser were neighbors.
Houser was taken to Crossroads Community Hospital in Mt. Vernon following the incident and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 8:50 p.m. by Coroner Eddie Joe Marks.
Authorities recovered the knife at the scene.
According to obituary information provided, Houser was a self-employed carpenter, a builder and a designer of several projects in Mt. Vernon, including Rare Chophouse and Headpieces by Toni. He redesigned the old pool hall in Mt. Vernon and the National Railway Equipment building and he designed the Girl Scout house in Centralia.
Visitation for Eric Houser will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Hughey Funeral Home. Following visitation, the body will be cremated.
Memorials are being accepted for the Tristan Houser College Scholarship Fund.