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VERSAILLES, Mo. (AP) — One of three suspects in the February killings of a central Missouri couple has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

The Lake Sun Leader reports that 43-year-old Derrell Spellmeyer, of Eldon, also pleaded guilty Thursday to armed criminal action. Sentencing is scheduled Jan. 16 in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Spellmeyer was accused of shooting 53-year-old Carol Wilson and stabbing 66-year-old Freddie Wilson on Feb. 4 at their home in Versailles (vur-SAYLZ'). He was arrested by detectives responding to a call from Carol Wilson saying she had been shot.

Forty-five-year-old Garland Mitchell and 28-year-old Mandy Mitchell, both of Jefferson City, are awaiting trial on the same charges.

The Mitchells told investigators the three went to the home to obtain drugs, but that only Spellmeyer went inside.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A hearing to consider the request of a Missouri teen to have her guilty plea in the killing of a 9-year-old neighbor vacated, corrected or set aside has been rescheduled.

Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 killing of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante now is 19 years old and was 15 at the time of the killing. They lived in St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City.

Online court records show a hearing scheduled for Friday has been moved to Jan. 30.

Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri teen who pleaded guilty to killing her 9-year-old neighbor wants the pleas to be vacated, corrected or set aside.

Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the October 2009 killing of Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City. Bustamante was 15 at the time.

Bustamante's attorney contends the teen's due process rights were violated and that she faced cruel and unusual punishment. The lawyer also asserts Bustamante's public defenders were not effective. A hearing was scheduled Friday in Jefferson City.

Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action. Initially, she was charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole.

Published in Local News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Police say they will look into any new leads in the 2001 slaying of a newspaper sports editor after one of the men originally convicted had his case overturned and was freed.

The Columbia Police Department issued a written statement Wednesday saying it respects an appeals court decision that reversed the murder and robbery convictions of Ryan Ferguson in the killing of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

The police department says it will follow up on any new information that is brought to its attention.

Ferguson was freed Tuesday evening after the Missouri attorney general decided not to re-try him.

Chuck Erickson remains in prison after pleading guilty to Heitholt's murder. Erickson originally testified against Ferguson but later recanted. Ferguson says neither one of them killed Heitholt.

 

Published in Local News

JACKSON, Mo. (AP) - A judge has set a September trial date for George Joseph, a Cape Girardeau businessman accused of killing his wife and 18-year-old son.

The Southeast Missourian reports that Cape Girardeau County Judge Benjamin Lewis on Tuesday scheduled the first-degree murder trial for the week of Sept. 15, with jury selection to begin Sept. 11.

The jury will be picked in Cole County in mid-Missouri and brought to Cape Girardeau County for the trial. Joseph's attorney, Bryan Greaser, had requested a change of venue.

Mary Joseph and the couple's son, Matthew, were shot to death on May 30 at the family's home. Joseph, who is 48, was treated for a gunshot wound to the head. He recovered.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 16:59

Suspect charged in deaths of 3 Miss. relatives

HAZLEHURST, Miss. (AP) - A man suspected in the slaying of three family members from Mississippi has been charged with murder and arson.

Authorities found the family's wrecked and burned vehicle Saturday in a remote area southwest of Jackson. Authorities say after questioning Timothy Lydell Burns, he led them to the bodies of a couple and a 7-year-old boy. They were in an abandoned house about a mile from the vehicle.

Burns was ordered held without bond Wednesday and attorney M.A. Bass was appointed to represent Burns. Bass could not immediately be reached for comment.

Burns was charged with two counts of murder and vehicle arson. Authorities say the third murder charge will likely come out of nearby Hinds County, where authorities think Laterry Smith, the boy's stepfather, was killed.

Published in National News
Monday, 04 November 2013 15:29

Man sentenced for 1999 murder

ST. LOUIS -- AP -- A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a murder that happened more than 14 years ago.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 38-year-old Willie McNeil was sentenced Monday after a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The crime happened May 24, 1999, when 47-year-old Mark Raiffie was beaten and shot at the family business he ran, Raiffie Vending Co. 

The case went cold until a tipster called police with information and McNeil was charged with first-degree murder in 2011. As part of the plea deal, the charge was reduced to second-degree murder.

 

Published in Local News

The mother of Willow Long was arrested this month on drug possession charges.

Police records show that Ciara DeRyke was arrested on October 14, police stopped her for speeding and found marijuana in her car. The arrest came a little over a month after investigators say her daughter, Willow, was killed by Justin DeRyke. Justin has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder.

Jury selection is supposed to start in December, but the trial is not expected to get underway until 2014.

Published in Local News

The 63-year-old man accused of shooting at two people in a North County bar, has died, the man who attacked him, facing charges.

The shooting occurred late Friday night inside the Pirates Cove bar in Florissant. The Post-Dispatch reports that Edward Mueller of Florissant was disarmed and assaulted by Douglas Layman after the shooting. Mueller was taken to the hospital died from a heart attack.

Layman is the brother of the victims. Layman is charged with second degree murder and held on a quarter-million dollar bond.

Published in Local News

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - A 14-year-old Massachusetts high school student charged with killing a teacher has been ordered held without bail.

Philip Chism was ordered held Wednesday at his arraignment in adult court on a murder charge in Salem.

His defense attorney, Denise Regan, argued for the proceedings to be closed and her client to be allowed to stay hidden because of his age. The judge denied the request. Regan declined to comment outside court.

Officials haven't released a cause of death, but prosecutors say the teen beat well-liked Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer. Her body was found in the woods behind the school early Wednesday.

The boy also was reported missing Tuesday. He was spotted walking along a road early Wednesday.

He is due back in court Nov. 22.

Published in National News

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