The trial of a Missouri man accused of murdering his wife and then burying her dismembered body in a shallow grave that was scheduled to start on May 28 has been postponed. The judge who set the new date said that the trial was delayed because negotiations with prosecutors were ongoing. The trail will take place in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The man could be sent to prison for the rest of his life is he is convicted.
Prosecutors say that the man killed his wife because she had filed divorce papers to end their marriage after 35 years. She was last seen alive in June 2015 just days before she was to appear in court. Police suspected that man had played a role, but they failed to discover a body or evidence of his involvement during extensive searches of the couple’s farm and surrounding 35 acres of land. During an initial interview, the man is said to have given detectives permission to collect his DNA and search his cellphone, business and pickup truck.
The breakthrough in the case came when the man’s pickup truck was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, Virginia. Information extracted from the vehicle’s navigation and OnStar systems led police to the woman’s body and revealed that the pickup truck had visited the scene the day following her disappearance. The man’s attorneys argued that the evidence should be suppressed because the man had subsequently withdrawn his permission to search the vehicle, but his statement was vague and their arguments did not convince the judge.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge individuals suspected of committing serious crimes like murder to make no statements of any kind to police officers without a lawyer present. Attorneys could also object to the collection of DNA samples or the warrantless searches of vehicles or properties.
Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Murder trial delayed for Sunset Hills man charged with killing and burying wife”, Joel Currier, May 28, 2019
Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “New trial date set for Sunset Hills man charged with killing and burying wife”, Joel Currier, May 29, 2019