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Killer Gets Life Without Parole in Steak ‘N Shake Murders

Kevin Killeen
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Mark Gerstner's daughter visits his grave, after Steak 'n' Shake murders

Mark Gerstner’s daughter visits his grave, after Steak ‘n’ Shake murders

CLAYTON, MO (KMOX)- Judge Richard Bresnahan sentenced Oundr’e Akins to six consecutive life sentences without parole Thursday for his role in the 2008 killing of two workers at a south St. Louis County Steak ‘n’ Shake.

No death penalty was sought because Akins had agreed to trial by judge rather than by jury.

Akins demeanor in court offended relatives of the victims, waitress Tammy Cantrell, 44, and cook Mark Gerstner, 24. Gerstner is survived by a young daughter who now visits his grave on holidays.

“He laughed as he walked in and out of the courtroom,” said Suzanne Gerstner. “It was as if he didn’t have any remorse.”

Akins made no apology and no statement during his sentencing. He was found guilty of shooting Cantrell seven times at the front door of the restaurant , then walking Gerstner into the freezer and

Oundr'e Akins sentenced to life without parole in Steak 'n' Shake murders

Oundr’e Akins sentenced to life without parole in Steak ‘n’ Shake murders

shooting him in the back of the head.

Judge Bresnahan lectured Akins as he stood before him in handcuffs and leg chains.

“I don’t think you can appreciate the pain you caused these families with these senseless murders,” Bresnahan said. “It’s my intent you never leave the prison alive. Take him away.”

Akins, 23, grinned and shook his head from side to side as he was led out.

His alleged accomplice and brother Anthony, 23, faces the same charges in his trial scheduled for July. If convicted, Anthony is eligible for the death penalty.

Cheryl Cantrell says murder of his sister Tammy at Steak 'n' Shake changed her life.

Cheryl Cantrell says murder of his sister Tammy at Steak ‘n’ Shake changed her life.

The two brothers from Cahokia had worked at cooks at the south County Steak ‘N Shake at 5828 Lindbergh. Oundr’e quit when he was passed over for a promotion, and Anthony was fired.

Families of the victims talked with reporters afterward about the heavy toll the murders took on their lives.

Tammy Cantrell’s sister Cheryl says the murder of her sister “changed her personality.”

“You can’t walk down the street. I used to walk down the street and not even think about people,” Cheryl said. “Now, you’re like, should I be worried? Should I have somebody else with me? I don’t go anywhere by myself.”

 

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