The Lake News Online
  • Woman accused of murder headed to circuit court

  • The woman accused of killing a man during a drug related incident more than nine years ago is bound for circuit court.
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  • The woman accused of killing a man during a drug related incident more than nine years ago is bound for circuit court.
    Clara J. Rector, 36, of Laurie will appear in Camden County Circuit Court on Aug. 19 for arraignment. Rector waived her right to a preliminary hearing July 17. Rector was charged with murder earlier this year after allegedly confessing to the April 28, 2004 murder of 48-year-old Tommy Hope.
    Officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Camden County Sheriff's Department and Camdenton Police Department arrested Rector on April 21 in relation to stalking and harassment charges not associated with the homicide.
    Hope's body was discovered at 6:30 a.m. April 29, 2004 lying on the floor of his home on First Street in Camdenton covered in blood. An autopsy performed at Southwest Missouri Forensics in Springfield indicated eight stab wounds to Hope's torso and left arm and a laceration along his neck.
    Rector was questioned in April and May 2004 in connection with Hope's death, but investigators were unable to establish a connection between Rector and the crime.
    During questioning in 2004, Rector admitted to using illegal substances with Hope and to being at his home prior to Hope's death. DNA tests corroborated Rector's statement, but the case grew cold and investigators made no arrests in the case.
    In a confession to detectives nine years later on April 22, 2013, Rector admitted to having an affair with Hope. According to the probable cause statement, Rector indicated she went to Hope's home on the evening of April 24, 2004 to obtain and use drugs.
    Rector allegedly became upset with Hope when he did not save any drugs for her and grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen. Rector stabbed Hope during what she described as a confrontation between the two of them.
    Years later, Rector became the author of a Christian blog and turned to local media to warn people of the dangers of unchecked drug use.
    Rector is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She is being held in the Camden County Adult Detention Facility. Bond has been denied.
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