The case against accused murderer Kelly Robert Simino, 43, of Eldon, will head to to Laclede County Circuit Court after Judge Kenneth Hayden granted a change-of-venue request during an arraignment hearing on Wednesday.
Simino, now being represented by attorney David Wallace, asked that the case be moved more than 100 miles away from Tuscumbia because of the media attention and publicity the case has garnered and the cooperation from other law enforcement agencies.
Hayden allowed the case to be moved, but transfered it to Laclede County, which is still in Miller County’s backyard.
Hayden said the case hasn’t gained so much media attention to allow for such a drastic move.
Simino’s motion for a speedy trial was also taken up but Hayden considered it a moot point because the trial would be scheduled as early as possible once it was assigned a judge in Laclede County Circuit Court, which could either be Hayden or Judge Stan Moore.
Simino’s request for a bond reduction was also turned down by Hayden because it made little sense, according to the judge.
Simino was charged on Jan. 6 with second-degree murder and held with a $500,000 bond. However, Simino has been in jail since January of 2009 for a probation violation. At the time, authorities considered him a “danger to society” and revoked his bond. Even if Hayden had granted a bond reduction in the case, Simino still wouldn’t be able to leave jail without bond being issued on the probation violation for operating a motorcycle without the proper license.
Simino pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge on Wednesday during the arraignment hearing.
Simino’s arrest in January 2009 coincided with law enforcement officials announcing that they had identified some human remains found by a dog walker in a creek bed near Eldon as those of his former girlfriend, Brandi Mathews.
Mathews had been missing for more than three years when her remains were found. Investigators believe she died shortly after she was last seen in late September 2006.
Simino and Mathews were involved in an intimate relationship with documented instances of physical abuse and violence. Mathews filed five police complaints against Simino with four different police department in 2006. Three involved assault, one involved threats, and one involved burglary. Mathews sought an order of protection from Simino in Pettis County a month before she disappeared.
At one time, Simino was referred to as a person of interest by those investigating Mathews’ disappearance.
If found guilty, Simino could be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison to more than 30 years, or for life.
Contact Lake Sun reporter Deanna Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org.