Christopher R. Sokolic Jr., who has been charged with murder for allegedly killing a Festus man, previously pleaded guilty to at least four felony charges and 10 misdemeanor charges and was on probation.
Sokolic, 27, of Barnhart allegedly stabbed Zachary C. Tripp, 40, of Festus multiple times while the two were in a car Monday afternoon (May 25) in the 1500 block of East Marriott Street in Barnhart, the probable-cause statement in the case said.
Sokolic was arrested early Tuesday morning (May 26) and was charged later that day with one count of first-degree murder, a class A felony punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole, as well as one count of armed criminal action, which carries a penalty of at least three years in prison, officials reported.
The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was called in to investigate the alleged murder shortly after Tripp’s body was found at about 1 p.m. Monday in a field near East Marriott Street, said Capt. Higginbotham, who’s a member of the Major Case Squad.
According to the probable-cause statement, Sokolic was a passenger in a 2015 Chevrolet Cruze that Tripp was driving, and Sokolic asked Tripp to stop the car, saying he needed to get an item from the trunk. However, Sokolic didn’t get out of the car, and he instead stabbed Tripp multiple times, including in the neck, back and chest.
As of this afternoon (May 27), Sokolic was being held in the Jefferson County Jail without bail, Higginbotham said.
Sokolic already had a criminal record.
He pleaded guilty to felony possession of a controlled substance stemming from a March 2013 incident in Jefferson County. He also pleaded guilty to a felony stealing charge and two charges of felony possession of a controlled substance tied to April 2014 incidents in Jefferson County, court records show.
He was sentenced to five years in prison for each of the felony possession charges and four years for stealing, with the sentences were to run currently, or at the same time. However, he was released in June 2015 on five years’ probation after completing a 120-day treatment program, court documents indicate
Sokolic also pleaded guilty to at least 10 misdemeanor charges between November 2009 to October 2019, including littering, stealing, use of drug paraphernalia, attempting to by alcohol as a minor, possession of synthetic marijuana and fourth-degree assault, according to court records.
He served at least 180 days in jail and paid at least $2,300 in fines and had been placed on two years’ probation at least three times because of the misdemeanor offenses, court papers show.