Informant Who Solved Murder Sues For $250,000 Reward, Fears For His Life


Willie McNeil pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the 1999 killing of Mark Raiffie.
  • Willie McNeil pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the 1999 killing of Mark Raiffie.

The brutal 1999 killing of Mark Raiffie went unsolved for over a decade before a Crime Stoppers tip led to an arrest. All it took, apparently, was the promise of a $250,000 reward from the victim's distraught father, a local businessman.

But the man who provided the information that led to the arrest says he hasn't gotten a penny from Seymore Raiffie, who offered the reward in the Post-Dispatch in 2008.

"He has received death threats," says the informant's lawyer, Timothy Smith, who tells Daily RFT that his client is staying anonymous out of fear for his life.

"He was expecting that if he came forward, like Mr. Raiffie asked for, that the financial assistance would be there and he would be able to make sure he was in a safe location," Smith says. "Unfortunately, after he came forward Mr. Raiffie did not."

See also: Man Brings Beer to Downtown St. Louis White Castle, Gets Kicked Out, Stabs Customer

Willie McNeil, 38, pleaded guilty in November to second-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, first-degree assault and first-degree robbery in connection with a 1999 burglary of Raiffie Vending Co., which left Mark Raiffie dead and another employee seriously injured.

According to the Post-Dispatch, McNeil told police that he watched one of his accomplices shoot the 47-year-old victim before beating him with a baseball bat and leaving him to die on the floor. He's now serving a 20-year jail sentence.

The informant, listed as John Doe in the complaint, wants Seymore Raiffie to pay up, with interest:

Here's an excerpt of the suit, as reported by Courthouse News.

Because said unilateral offer was made by defendant Raiffie as previously indicated, plaintiff was induced and had the capacity to accept, and in fact did accept said offer by providing crucial information to the proper authorities which broke open this cold case and led to the arrest and eventual conviction of William McNeil for the murder of defendant's son, Mark Raiffie.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.