Angela Lyn Fortner
"Angie"
17 Years Old

February 23, 1972 to June 20, 1989

Angela Lyn Fortner, 17, was murdered on June 20, 1989, the summer before her Senior year at Miller High School, Miller, MO. She was the daughter of Joe Lynn Fortner and Shirley S. Fortner.

Angie (or Ang) planned to become a psychologist - she had lots of practice because her friends came to her with their problems and she always tried to help. Friends would sometimes call her late at night with problems, and she would take the phone into her closet to talk to them so she wouldn't disturb anyone. She wanted everyone to get along and to enjoy life.

Among Angie's interests when she was growing up were baton twirling lessons, clogging lessons, violin lessons, and piano lessons. While in elementary school, she performed at various events with her twirling group, including basketball games at a local university, parades, competitions, charity events, and Fourth of July celebrations with Springfield Symphony before thousands of people. She was an excellent water skier and enjoyed camping at the lake with her grandparents. She also enjoyed Sunday dinners with family at the home of her grandparents. She loved animals and frequently smuggled her cat and white bunny into her room, despite an "un-enforced" no animals in the house rule.

Angie loved hanging out with her friends in the small town where she attended high school. She was a member of the band and was involved in various school activities. She also loved shopping at local malls and attending movies and concerts. She joined a small country church at an early age and was active in a youth group. Her friends told humorous tales of her driving skills (or lack thereof) - she once knocked down her parents and grandparents' mailbox while backing out of the driveway. Despite all the good natured teasing she endured, she enjoyed life and accepted with good grace whatever life dealt. She was fun living, kind, and compassionate and a genuinely good person.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Angela Lyn Fortner, 17, was murdered at approximately 1:00 am on June 20, 1989, about three miles from her home near Halltown, Lawrence County, MO.

Angie and two of her girlfriends were planning to camp on the banks of Billy Creek, a few hundred yards behind the home of the parents of one of her friends.

A few other teenagers had gathered at the campsite. Later in the evening, Bret Alan Arbuckle, the 23 year old man who shot Angie, appeared at the campsite, uninvited. He claimed to be intoxicated and was driven to the campsite by a friend.

Before he shot Angie, Arbuckle waved the gun at others, vandalized the campsite, and threatened to rape the other two girls. Angie and her boyfriend left in her boyfriend's car and drove as far as the driveway next door to Angie's home, where she decided she needed to go back and check on her friends and get her pickup. She could not find her keys and asked Arbuckle if he had them. He pulled her from the pickup, grabbed her in a headlock, pointed the gun at her throat, and pulled the trigger. The bullet severed an artery and Angie bled to death. The bullet exited Angie's body and struck Arbuckle in the arm. He dropped her to the ground and drove from the scene.

Arbuckle was convicted of second degree murder and armed criminal action in 1990. He was sentenced to life for the murder, plus 30 years for armed criminal action. He served time in Jefferson City, MO, then was placed under protective custody and transferred to a prison in Colorado. He will be eligible for parole in June, 2002

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Angela Fortner