The trial of the man accused of killing three people in Dec. 2010 near Stoutland resumed Monday morning where it left off more than four months ago.
Morris McCabe is charged with three counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of Sally Amos, Donald Myers and Donald Young at Myers' residence on Dec. 3, 2010. Circuit Court Judge Ken Hayden declared a lengthy recess in the trial on Feb. 5 after the validity of the DNA sample of Sally Amos was called into question.
Camden County Prosecuting Attorney Keedy alleges that a glove worn by McCabe contained a blood stain belonging to Sally Amos. Without a credible DNA standard, Keedy could not use the glove — his prime piece of evidence — in the trial. The extra DNA sample was sent to a toxicology lab at Saint Louis University.
Dr. Keith Norton, who performed the autopsies on the victims, took the stand Monday morning, resuming testimony held over since February. Norton cleared up the confusion about the DNA sample before explaining his findings in the autopsies of Myers and Young. Both sustained two gunshot wounds to the head.
Public defender Beth Davis-Kerry questioned Norton about his autopsy practices, confirming that Southwest Missouri Forensics — the company that contracted with Camden County to handle the murder — received two samples of Amos' DNA, "but not at the same time" according to Norton.
Carla Yoder, co-owner of Southwest Missouri Forensics, later testified that two samples of DNA was not uncommon. Kerry also questioned an erasure on Norton's autopsy report of Amos that said a "blood spot card released to Mike Schmidt." Schmidt was an investigator on the case.
Public defenders asked Schmidt, who also took the stand Monday morning, to clarify whether he conveyed police theories about the crime to Norton because of notes found on the autopsy report about a rifle and an ex-convict. Schmidt denied that.
Before breaking around 11:30 a.m., Kerry cast doubt on the autopsy reports, questioning why Amos' autopsy was delivered to Southwest Missouri Forensics last, on Dec. 13, 2010, when that autopsy was completed first, on Dec. 4, 2010. The autopsies for Young and Myers were completed on Dec. 4 and Dec. 6, 2010 respectively and both delivered on Dec. 12 before being turned over to Camden County.
The afternoon portion of Monday's trial began with Keedy bringing witness Vicki Bell to the stand.
Bell had been romantically linked to McCabe and Myers in the past.
Bell told Keedy that she had known Donald Myers for about 12 to 15 years before the incident. She described their relationship as friends but had dated and lived together for a short time in 2008. After breaking up, Bell said she and Myers had "continued to be very close friends."
Page 2 of 3 - She went on to say that she relied on Myers for such things as taking care of her home and property when working as a long haul truck driver out of town, paying her bills when working, helping with her children when needed and taking care of repairs on her property.
Myers — also known as Fido — sometimes enlisted the help of his friend Donald Young — also known as Rooster — to help keep up Bell's property. Bell described the three as very close friends.
"Whatever was happening, we would go together," Bell said. "Not all the time, but most of the time."
She said a relationship with McCabe in fall 2010 developed into a romantic relationship "for a short time."
Bell said that while she and McCabe were involved, he did not have a job and wanted to learn how to drive a long haul truck so he went with her on a job during October and November.
When the pair arrived back at Bell's home on Nov. 26, 2010, she alleges that the situation got out of control.
"He tried to beat me to death," Bell said.
She said he assaulted her with his fist "repeatedly, several times."
She told the prosecutor that she sustained injuries including a cut above her eye, both eyes were black, blue and swollen, bruises on her neck and her face felt numb for months. She said before leaving, he picked her up by her head and threw her across the room. In order to get him to leave, she gave him $600 cash and her car keys.
Bell said she did see McCabe again on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, she said that he that he had made up his mind and that "he was going to be with her no matter what."
After she told him that was not going to happen, Bell alleges that he threatened to kill her two youngest children and her mother if she would not be with him.
She then said that she convinced him that if he saw a therapist, a pastor and got involved in church that she would go back to him.
She left for a long haul trucking job on that following Monday. She said that she and Morris had several phone calls that week. On Dec. 2, Bell said that she received more threatening calls from McCabe. While on the phone, he began reading some of her mail to her. She asked why he was at her home. She said that he told her that he was "taking care of things."
She told the prosecutor that she then told him that he had no business at her home and that Myers, Fido, was taking care of things. That is when Bell said that McCabe told her, "I will see to it that Fido doesn't take care of anything here ever again."
Page 3 of 3 - Bell also said that during a call with McCabe he mentioned getting a gun and robbing a local business for money to buy his own long haul truck.
During the prosecution's questioning, Keedy played a taped recording of a phone call between Bell and McCabe. McCabe denied anything to do with the murder and blamed it on "a dope deal." He kept telling Bell that he wanted to be with her and she kept telling him to get help.
"It's entirely up to you how things go," McCabe told her. "We will just let things fall as they fall."
The conversation was the second of four recorded phone calls. The last call recording included McCabe's arrest.
During the cross examination, the defense honed in on the fact that Bell nor her family filed charges from the assault or threats that McCabe allegedly made before she left for work out of town. Bell said that Laclede County Sheriff Department officials told her not to press charges because he would just be on bail soon.
The defense also brought up what they saw as a discrepancy in an interview. During a Dec. 21 interview between Bell and Officer Jolley of the Camden County Sheriff's Department, Bell told him that she received a call from Homer Reed, a longtime friend of McCabe, telling her that McCabe was on his way to her house to turn on the water for her jacuzzi. She also said that Reed seemed concerned for her safety. In a later deposition with the defense and prosecution, Bell said that Homer said that McCabe had a gun.
"I was confused. I was thinking of a former conversation," Bell said to the defense attorney.
Before ending Bell's questioning, Keedy asked her if McCabe was in the courtroom and if so to point him out to identify him. Bell answered yes and pointed to the defendant with long white hair wearing a blue shirt and brown slacks.