Allen D. Layfield remained in jail Wednesday, even though murder charges against him were dropped.


 Allen D. Layfield remained in jail Wednesday, even though murder charges against him were dropped.
   The 44-year-old Hannibal man was accused of second-degree murder in the Jan. 16 death of his estranged girlfriend, 42-year-old Karen S. Sherman, at a family member’s apartment at 706 Birch.
   Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Tom Redington said in an e-mail Wednesday morning that he was dropping the charges after receiving the autopsy report and toxicology screening results.
   Redington said pathologist Dr. Carl Stacy at the University of Missouri Hospital had “concluded that the cause of death was ‘severe coronary artery disease and multiple drug overdose,’” Redington wrote. The type of drugs was not revealed.
   “He specifically concludes that injuries she received during the altercation with Allen Layfield ‘were not severe enough to have resulted in her death,’” Redington added.
   In an interview, Redington said he had nothing else to add.
   Layfield’s attorney, Todd Schulze of Hannibal, was pleased.
   “It’s a great day when justice is served,” Schulze said. “We’re very happy with the outcome.”
   Layfield was being held without bond Wednesday in the Marion County Jail at Palmyra for allegedly violating probation on what Schulze termed an “unrelated issue.” A June 7 court date had been set.
   In Redington’s original complaint, filed with the court long before the autopsy and toxicology reports were available, the prosecutor said Layfield had “caused the death of Karen Sherman by striking her.”
   The girlfriend of Sherman's brother, Roger Robertson, said in a statement to police that she spoke to Sherman twice by telephone in the hours leading up to the death. Sherman was a Hannibal native but had lived in Iowa.
   The girlfriend, Pamela Owens, told police that in the first conversation, Sherman had said “she was coming to town to pick up the rest of her things.’”
   The second conversation took place just 35 minutes before police responded to an assault call at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 16 from the apartment and found her body.
   Layfield had been staying with Robertson and Owens, but Robertson had ordered him to leave the day before the death after Layfield “had gotten drunk the night before.” Owens reported.
   Owens said she and Robertson found a grisly scene at the apartment.
   “Once I entered the bedroom, I could see Allen on all fours over Karen and he looked at us and said that he was wiping the blood off her face,” Owens told authorities.
   Owens said that when Robertson asked Layfield what he had done, Layfield “said he did not do anything.”
   Owens said Layfield told her Sherman had attacked him and that she checked for a pulse, but could not find one.
   Terry Gollaher, the boyfriend of Sherman’s niece, tried in vain to revive Sherman until an ambulance arrived.
   Marion County Coroner Peggy Porter said Sherman had heart, liver and other medical problems that preceded any wounds she suffered in the confrontation with Layfield.
   Records show Layfield had served probation for being a persistent driving while intoxicated offender and that an unidentified "co-habitant" had gotten an order of protection against him last October.