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The Lake News Online
  • Murder case against siblings grinds to a halt

  • Siblings accused in the murder of a Morgan County couple won't go to trial next week as planned.
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  • Siblings accused in the murder of a Morgan County couple won't go to trial next week as planned.
    Garland Mitchell and Mandy Mitchell were scheduled to go to trial in Morgan County Monday, Jan. 27, but their cases were unexpectedly transferred to Camden County last Thursday following surprise revelations at a sentencing hearing for another defendant in the case.
    Derrell Spellmeyer originally pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree murder and armed criminal action in the Feb. 4, 2013 deaths of Freddie and Carol Wilson. The Wilsons were found dead in their home south of Versailles. Police arrested Spellmeyer and the Mitchell siblings a short time later.
    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. Prosecutors didn't know of Spellmeyer's claim until the day of the sentencing — Jan. 16.
    Judge Kenneth Hayden did not accept the guilty plea and recused himself from the case. Spellmeyer's case was transferred to Camden County and Judge Stan Moore. If the sentencing had gone forward despite the assessment, it might have opened the door to an appeal by Spellmeyer at a later date.
    The case against the Mitchells was subsequently transferred to Camden County as well at a hearing Thursday.
    Online court documents confirm that a motion for a change in judge had been withdrawn, allowing Hayden to hear the case against the siblings.
    A jury trial is now possible in the case despite Spellmeyer's guilty plea, but it is not a certainty at this point. A new jury trial date has not been set for Mandy Mitchell or Garland Mitchell
    In an 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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