As a witness at the preliminary hearing for murder suspect Michael Alan Studer on Monday morning, Oct. 28, at Hannibal, Krystal Tresler calmly and orderly presented a timeline narrative for the events that lead up to Arnett’s death in the early morning hours of Oct. 8.
From an afternoon spent “palling around” with a young woman named Amanda – Tresler testified she couldn’t remember her last name – to a stop at Walmart to go to the bathroom while “Mikey” Studer “picked up” some camo gloves and a hat, to a drive from a motel on Mark Twain Avenue to Shinn Lane, and finally the sound of gunfire, Tresler offered her testimony.
She explained that she had dated Gary James Wiltermood III, a second suspect in the murder of Adrienne Arnett, for about six months prior to Oct. 8. They lived together at one point, Tresler testified, but they were not living together at the time of the murder.
Tresler testified that she owns the van that the five acquaintances drove around in that night – a 1999 Dodge Caravan with two sliding side doors. Gary Wiltermood was the van driver during the evening, and Amanda, Krystal, Cuda Dodd and Michael Studer were the passengers.
Michael Studer and Gary Wiltermood stopped at Walmart, Tresler said, and she took the opportunity while inside the store to use the restroom. Outside of the store, she saw Studer holding a camouflage hat and gloves in his hands.
Next, they stopped at a motel on Mark Twain Avenue where Wiltermood lived, then proceeded on to Shinn Lane. She testified that Wiltermood dropped Studer off at the bank parking lot near the Shinn Lane convenience store, then Wiltermood drove the van to the gas pump at the far north of the parking lot.
While Tresler and Amanda waited in the van, Wiltermood went inside the station to pay for the gas, and Cuda Dodd, she said, went inside to use the rest room. Tresler testified she saw Studer walk through the field between the bank and the station on foot, and then he went around the back of the building. Entering into her line of sight from the north, and wearing the hat and gloves, he passed the Subway store to the north, then entered the convenience store, she said.
Tresler said that Arnett was in front of the counter, like she was stocking chips on the shelf.
Tresler said she heard one gunshot, and then saw Wiltermood freeze in his steps. “His face turned white,” she said.
“I could see Mikey’s back. He was waving his hands and jumping around a little,” she testified.
Shortly after the first gunshot, she heard two more.
“Gary ran to the van and started it, and started to drive off. He drove around the pump, went on Shinn Lane and toward the outer road. About two car lengths or more onto the outer road, Mikey got into the vehicle,” wearing the same camo hat and gloves she described previously.
“There was a lot of commotion in the car, everybody was screaming and hollering. He (Mikey) said he had shot her, and was pretty sure he had killed her because he shot her in the chest.”
The five went toward the river in Tresler’s van, and she testified that she watched as Studer threw objects – she believed them to be the camo hat and gloves, plus his jacket - into the river near the riverboat landing (which is to the north of Schwartz Gardens.)
At that time, each of the five went their own way, she said.