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The Lake News Online
  • Surprise at sentencing hearing negates plea

  • The sentencing hearing of an Eldon man who had pleaded guilty in a double homicide that took place on Feb. 4, 2013 in Morgan County took an unexpected turn Jan. 16, ending with sentencing not taking place at all and the case being transferred to Camden County Circuit Court.
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  • The sentencing hearing of an Eldon man who had pleaded guilty in a double homicide that took place on Feb. 4, 2013 in Morgan County took an unexpected turn Jan. 16, ending with sentencing not taking place at all and the case being transferred to Camden County Circuit Court.
    Derrell Spellmeyer, 44, entered a guilty plea to two counts of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action and waived formal arraignment in Morgan County Circuit on Nov. 14, 2013 for the Feb. 4, 2013 shooting deaths of Freddie and Carol Wilson at the Wilsons' home south of Versailles.
    A sentencing assessment report was conducted by the Missouri Department of Corrections following Spellmeyer's plea in November.
    While the plea to the court indicated knowingly killing the couple, Spellmeyer claimed the gun went off accidentally in the sentencing assessment, calling the guilty plea for murder into question.
    In Missouri, a case could be made for manslaughter rather than murder in such a situation.
    Subsequently, Judge Kenneth Hayden did not accept the guilty plea and had the case transferred to Judge Stan Moore to be heard in Camden County.
    If the sentencing had gone forward despite the assessment, it might have opened the door to an appeal by Spellmeyer at a later date.
    A contingent of family and friends of the victims, expecting Spellmeyer to be sentenced, were visibly upset by the sentencing not going forward.
    A jury trial is now possible in the case despite Spellmeyer's guilty plea, but it is not a certainty at this point.
    More will be known after the new judge reviews the case.
    Spellmeyer was arrested along with Garland Mitchell, 45, and Mandy Mitchell, 28, near the Wilson's home on Dorsey Lane son shortly after a 911 call from Carol Wilson reporting that she had been shot.
    According to the probable cause statement issued by the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, a white van with Spellmeyer and Garland and Mandy Mitchell inside swerved and hit a patrol car as it responded to the call.
    The trio were taken into custody at the scene of the crash where officers recovered a .32 caliber hand gun, a bottle of Hydrocodone belonging to Carol Wilson and a .32 caliber casing. Officers also reported blood on Spellmeyer's hands and clothing.
    In a later interview with detectives, court documents state that Spellmeyer admitted to doing the shooting.
    Court documents also state that the Mitchells told detectives that they drove Spellmeyer to the Wilson residence to obtain drugs. Although they did not enter the home, the Mitchells said they recalled hearing gunshots a short time later, according to the probable cause statement.
    All three then fled the scene in the van before encountering officers.
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