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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Three Laddonia murder suspects plead not guilty

  •   Three family members pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murdering a man in their home just before Christmas last year, and one of them promises to speak out while a deal could be in the works for another.

     


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  •   Three family members pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murdering a man in their home just before Christmas last year, and one of them promises to speak out while a deal could be in the works for another.
       Charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action are 38-year-old Chester C. Harvey Jr. and his 34-year-old wife, Angela D. Harvey, both of Laddonia, and Harvey’s son, 19-year-old Chad M. Harvey, of Eolia.
       Chester and Angela Harvey smiled at each other and kept their eyes upon one another during arraignments Wednesday morning before Judge Keith M. Sutherland in Audrain County Circuit Court at Mexico. Chad Harvey was arraigned later in the day.
       “I’ll speak out eventually, but today’s not the day,” Chester Harvey said as he was led back to a sheriff’s department vehicle for the return trip to jail.
       Earlier, before the hearing began, Chester Harvey was led into the courtroom and seated in a chair near the jury box away from other prisoners.
       “Is this the one with the current in it?” he jokingly asked deputies.
       Angela Harvey did not respond to questions, but in court she seemed to silently mouth the words “I miss you, I love you” to her husband. Her attorney, Leecia Carnes, declined to comment.
       Chad Harvey also was silent, but his lawyer, Stephan Bell, talked about the case after the hearing.
       Bell said she and Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob W. Shellabarger have had discussions, but declined to specify the nature of the talks.
       “We’re still negotiating with the prosecutor,” Bell said.
       Shellabarger declined to say if a deal had been proposed by either side because the investigation was ongoing.
       “It’s a complex case,” he said.
       Bell said that one thing that isn’t on the table is her client testifying against the other defendants in exchange for lesser charges.
    Background
       The Harveys are among eight suspects charged in the murder and kidnapping of 20-year-old James William Boyd McNeely.
       Authorities allege the Ohio man was suffocated in the basement of the Chester and Angela Harvey home at 312 Young Street in Laddonia on Dec. 18, 2009.
       The three suspects charged with kidnapping McNeely and bringing him to the Harvey house are 44-year-old Jackie D. Moss and 52-year-old Robert N. Allen, both of Vandalia, and 45-year-old Darrill K. Lynn of Farber.
       Also facing first-degree murder, kidnapping, felonious restraint and armed criminal action charges are Harvey's two other sons, who were 16 and 14 at the time.
       According to a probable cause statement, Chester Harvey admitted he used a garbage bag to suffocate McNeely.
       In a separate statement, Angela Harvey said that she, her husband and Lynn talked by telephone conference call two days before the murder and discussed "that McNeely needed to be removed from the Harvey residence that night."
    Page 2 of 2 -    According to the statement, Angela Harvey admitted she told her husband how to suffocate McNeely.
       Deputies acting on a tip found McNeely's body Dec. 22 in Vandalia inside a trailer leased to Chester Harvey, a truck driver who may have picked up McNeely during a run.
       Authorities have not discussed motive, but an uncle of McNeely said that weeks before the murder his nephew had spoken of getting involved with the Harveys in the illicit drug trade.
    Next steps
       Chester, Angela and Chad Harvey have each asked for a change of judge and change of venue.
       A hearing for Angela Harvey was set for July 9, with court appearances by Chester and Chad Harvey on Aug. 2. Allen’s case also was continued to Aug. 2.
       Moss will be arraigned July 9 and Lynn will return for a hearing on July 21. The two Harvey boys are awaiting appearances to see if they’ll be charged as adults.
       Sutherland granted Chad Harvey’s request for a bond, setting it at $500,000 cash or surety. He, Chester, Angela and the two boys remained behind bars. Allen, Moss and Lynn are free on bond.
       A conviction on first-degree murder carries penalties of death or life in prison, but Shellabarger said Wednesday he has not decided whether to seek executions if the Harveys are convicted. He also would not discuss the juvenile cases.
       Shellabarger said he planned to talk to McNeely’s family at the end of this week.
     
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