Richard Donaldson, 17, Charged as Adult in Tower Grove South Murder


Richard Donaldson shot a man visiting his grandchildren in St. Louis.
  • Richard Donaldson shot a man visiting his grandchildren in St. Louis.
A seventeen-year-old has been charged as an adult in the shocking murder of a grandfather, who was killed in an attempted carjacking in February in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

Richard Donaldson, who was sixteen at the time, was taken into custody and held in a juvenile detention center two days after 72-year-old Kenneth Spalter was gunned down in the 3800 block of Juniata Street. Police investigating an earlier carjacking were able to tie him to the fatal shooting, authorities say.

On Friday, a judge certified Donaldson, who lives in Spanish Lake, to stand trial as an adult on a string of charges: second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of armed criminal action, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident and stealing.

Spalter was from Pound Ridge, New York — about 50 miles north of New York City. He was reportedly visiting relatives in St. Louis to celebrate the birth of a grandson when he was ambushed by Donaldson and other suspects, authorities say.

The assailants wanted Spalter's car and shot him during a struggle, police say. Officers arrived to find him unconscious on the sidewalk. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The suspects ran to a getaway car and fled south on Gustine Avenue.

Police allege that Donaldson was part of a carjacking earlier the same day, February 10, and used the stolen 2009 Hyundai Sonata during the attack on Spalter.

Donaldson is now being charged in both cases.

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