October 22, 2009

Jury Finds Mutchler Guilty of Involuntary Man Slaughter in 2008 Shooting Death

With the prosecution seeking first degree murder and the defense proclaiming innocence, a Shelby County jury settled somewhere in between on Friday, October 16th in the trial of Michael J. Mutchler of Memphis.

After deliberating most of the afternoon on the third day of the trial, the jury came back with a guilty count on the charge of armed criminal action. They ruled Mutchler was guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the 2008 shooting death of Joseph Alvey in rural Scotland County.

The prosecution had sought a charge of murder in the first degree. However the jury instructions offered a number of lesser offenses, including murder in the second degree, and involuntary manslaughter in the first or second degree.

The jury ultimately settled for the later, indicating they believed the defendant, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, acted with criminal negligence, and not in self defense, resulting in Alveys death.

In order to find Mutchler guilty of murder, the jury would have had to agree that his conduct was practically certain to have caused Alveys death.

Involuntary manslaughter in the second degree is a class D felony and is subject to a prison term of up to five years. Armed criminal action is an unclassified felony, punishable by imprisonment by the department of corrections for a term of not less than three years. The punishment is in addition to the manslaughter sentence. No person convicted under this subsection shall be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of three calendar years.

Sentencing in the case will be handed down at 10:00 a.m. December 1st in the Shelby County Court by Judge Gary Wallace.

Joseph Alvey died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds from a .22 rifle following an altercation at the Russell Heck residence on June 8, 2008.

The owner of the weapon, Michael J. Mutchler, admitted to firing the gun, but claimed it was done in self-defense, as Alvey attempted to take a weapon from Heck and gain access to the home.

On the night of the shooting, Alvey had arrived at the Russell Heck residence near Gorin. Heck shared a home with Angela Graham and their infant child. Mutchler was living with the couple at the time of the shooting.

Another couple had joined the trio for some drinks before Kristy Shaw arrived at the home. After the second couple departed, Joseph Alvey, Shaws boyfriend, arrived.

According to testimony by Shaw, Heck and Graham, Alvey and Shaw had an altercation in the yard when Alvey attempted to leave the party and Shaw refused to give him his vehicle keys because he was intoxicated.

Mutchler reportedly witnessed the fight, and sought out Heck, who had gone to bed earlier in the night, to come to Shaws aid.

Heck reportedly fired one round from a 9mm pistol into the air to warn Alvey to leave the property.

He and Graham both testified that the pistol was then returned to the home, and exchanged for a beater stick a wooden club similar in size to a police baton.

At this time Mutchler exited the home with his .22 rifle and the shooting took place shortly thereafter.

Mutchler took the stand in his own defense, and admitted firing the fatal shots at Alvey. However he claimed the shooting was done in self-defense, as Alvey attempted to take the handgun from Heck.

Prosecution witnesses testified that Mutchler made threatening comments targeting the victim prior to the shooting, a fact the defendant refuted.

They also indicated that Heck, who had taken a 9mm handgun onto the porch and fired a warning shot to scare Alvey away, no longer was holding the gun at the time of the fatal shooting.

The defense pointed out that in their statements given to investigators the following day, both Heck and Graham initially had indicated the shooting was done in self-defense as Alvey reached for Hecks sidearm.

However both witnesses later changed their statements.

Graham testified that she had tried to help Mutchler, her friend, but had decided that it was more important to tell the truth, ultimately requiring her to recant her initial statement and issue a new statement to investigators roughly a week after the shooting.

Mutchler testified that he fired five or six shots at Alvey, deliberately aiming low, in an effort to scare him and prevent him from charging the porch and taking the weapon from Heck. He indicated he made the split-second decision in an effort to secure the occupants of the home.

The Boone County Medical Examiner testified that Alvey sustained four gunshot wounds, one to the leg, one to the lower back and one to the hand. The fourth struck Alvey in the back of his shoulder. The bullet struck a rib, passed through both lungs and ultimately opened the aorta, which proved fatal. The examiner indicated the fatal wound likely would have incapacitated Alvey within 20 seconds.

The defense highlighted physical evidence, including four bullet holes in an adjacent building, noting the low height of impact. They also pointed out that Mutchler had selected a .22 rifle instead of the shotgun or high-powered rifle he also had in the house.

Prosecutors questioned why Mutchler never called law enforcement or an ambulance following the incident, and instead spoke to family members on his cellular phone immediately following the shooting, while the fatality went 45 minutes to one hour before it was reported by Heck.

Evidence was also presented that appeared to disprove Mutchlers testimony that he never reloaded the weapon after the shooting.

Investigators testified that a clip for the weapon was recovered containing seven bullets along with an eighth that was ejected from the chamber. With physical evidence indicating five bullets had struck the house and a sixth, the fatal shot was found in Alveys body, prosecutors pointed out that the testimony was mathematically impossible, since the clip could hold just 10 shells with an 11th chambered in the rifle. With six shots fired and eight in the clip and weapon, the prosecution argued the weapon had to have been reloaded, backing up testimony to that effect and refuting statements made under oath by the defendant.

Mutchler was the lone witness called by the defense. The prosecution called the three witnesses at the home during the shooting, as well as a number of investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control (DDCC), the medical examiner, and Scotland County Coroner Ginny Monroe. Testimony was offered Wednesday afternoon following the seating of the jury and concluded with nearly a full-day of testimony on October 15th before the defense rested at around 3:30 p.m.

Jurors received the jury instructions just before lunch on Friday, and returned a verdict that afternoon.

Health Department Warns Use of Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Severe Bleeding

Scotland County Health Department Administrator Margaret Curry is sharing the news on the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids following a recent national health report. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Clinician Outreach message to health care providers related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids with street names such as synthetic marijuana, fake weed, K2 and spice.

According to the message, 94 people in five states who used synthetic cannabinoids have been treated since March 10, 2018, for bleeding due to coagulopathy, a blood clotting disorder. The number of cases reported in the message include: 89 in Illinois, two in Indiana, one in Maryland, one in Missouri and one in Wisconsin.  There were two fatalities in Illinois.

Laboratory testing confirmed that at least 18 individuals had been exposed to brodifacoum, a highly lethal vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant. It is used in commercial products for killing rodents and other pests. Some synthetic cannabinoid product samples related to the outbreak also tested positive for brodifacoum. Public health investigation indicates that synthetic cannabinoids were likely contaminated with brodifacoum.

Synthetic cannabinoids are classified as a controlled substance and their possession can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the amount possessed.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is asking healthcare providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for vitamin K–dependent antagonist coagulopathy in patients presenting with clinical signs of coagulopathy, bleeding unrelated to an injury, or bleeding without another explanation and with a possible history of use of synthetic cannabinoids.

Similar communications regarding drug induced severe coagulopathy have been issued by the Missouri Poison Center and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Those who may be suffering from adverse effects from the use of synthetic cannabinoids should seek medical care immediately. Health care professionals should report suspected cases to the Missouri Poison Control Center by calling 800-222-1222.

Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance Teams up with Feeding Missouri to Knock Hunger Out of the Park for Missourians

With 947,900 Missourians labeled as “food insecure” according to the Map the Meal Gap 2015 study, Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance recognizes the need to obtain and distribute food to hungry families across the state. For the third consecutive year, insurance agents are accepting donations from April 16, 2018 to May 11, 2018 at their local offices to be distributed to one of the over 1,500 Feeding Missouri agencies located in their communities.

While most non-perishable donations are appreciated, there are some types of food items that allow local pantries to best meet the needs of the communities they serve.  These items include: canned tuna or chicken, boxed or bagged pasta, canned soup or chili, boxed crackers, peanut butter, fruit snacks and instant mashed potatoes. Monetary donations are encouraged as well. All checks collected stay in the region and are reserved specifically for children experiencing food insecurity in their homes. According the Map the Meal Gap 2015 study, 258,610 Missouri children are experiencing food insecurity.

In the final weeks of May, each Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance office will take the donations to a local pantry to be weighed. A statewide grand total of donations in pounds will be announced along with the total monetary donations. Last year’s efforts garnered nearly 10 tons of food and $4,000 for child food programs.

Please drop off non-perishable food donations or checks made payable to the Central Missouri Food Bank between April 16, 2018 and May 11, 2018 at 388 S. Clay St., in Memphis MO  63555, the office of Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Greg Shelley.

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, April 19 – Tenderloin/Bun, Onions, Scalloped Potatoes, Pea Salad, Pineapple, Brownies

Friday, April 20 – Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Green Beans, Carrot-Pineapple Cake

Monday, April 23 – Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Carrots, Applesauce

Tuesday, April 24 – Lasagna/Meat Sauce, Lettuce Salad, Hominy, Garlic Bread, Peaches

Wednesday, April 25 –Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Green Beans, Hot Roll, Fruit Salad

Thursday, April 26 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Cranberry Sauce, Bread, Cookie

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, April 19 – Blood Pressure Checks Here Today.  Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Monday, April 23 – AAA and Care Meeting in Shelbina at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, April 24 – Moving on Group meeting here at 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 26 – Card party at 5:00 p.m.

SCR-I Elementary School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, April 19 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, April 20 – Sausage/Gravy, Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, April 23 – Pancakes, Choice of Cereal, Sausage Link, Toast/Jelly, Strawberries, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, April 24 – Mini Breakfast Bites, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Grapes, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, April 25 – Bacon/Egg/Cheese Sandwich, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Thursday, April 26 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, April 19 – Pizza Roll-Ups, Chicken Fajitas, Hamburger Bar, Potato Rounds, Green Beans, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, April 20 – Tuna Noodle Casserole, Grilled Chicken Patty/Bun, Oven Ready Fries, Peas/Carrots, Ice Cream, Strawberries, Fresh Fruit

Monday, April 23 – Popcorn Chicken, Mini Corn Dogs, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Tri Potato Patty, Mixed Vegetables, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, April 24 – Sloppy Joe/Bun, Chicken Alfredo, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Onion Rings, Buttered Corn, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, April 25 – Meatloaf, Sliced Ham, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Scalloped Potatoes, Creamed Peas, Dinner Roll, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, April 26 – Goulash, Chicken Stir Fry, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Fruit Cocktail, Fresh Fruit

Rutledge Cafe Offers Class on Growing Shitake Mushrooms

Shitake mushrooms growing from an oak log. Photo by Stephen Hight, USDA

by Alline Anderson, Rutledge, Missouri

When I first moved to Northeast Missouri I was vaguely aware of mushrooms – I liked them well enough on my pizza. But hunting for wild mushrooms, and eating them, seemed like something that only crazy people in the Pacific Northwest did. How did they not die an excruciatingly painful death from poison mushrooms? Newly arrived in Rutledge, my local friends began talking excitedly about morel mushrooms. Right here on our own land! What?

As spring approached we watched the temperature for warm days and nights above 40°. Soon we went out on the land, looking in sandy creek bottoms, around dead or dying elm trees, on sunny south and west slopes. And amazingly, there they were. Dozens of wild morel mushrooms, just waiting to be harvested.

Unfortunately, I soon found that I am the world’s worst morel mushroom hunter. In my morel hunting career I’ve found two. That’s two mushrooms, not two dozen, or two bags-full. And one of them I lost on the way home.

So I was absolutely delighted to learn that I could grow my own mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms are not only incredibly delicious they are beautifully suited to be grown in dappled shade in one’s own yard. I found I could create my own mushroom farm – the process is fairly simple. By drilling holes in freshly cut oak logs (of a specific length and circumference), placing mushroom spawn in the holes, and sealing the holes with wax, I could create the ideal growing conditions. The logs are then placed in shady areas that receive a bit of sun and circulating air, and after a few months of rain and sun and shade, dozens of mushrooms pop up out of the logs, ready to be harvested and sauteed with a little garlic, butter and white wine.

Mushroom logs produce twice a year for three to four years. After the initial inoculation, the logs pretty much take care of themselves. After harvesting the shitake mushrooms one can use them fresh or easily dry them for future use.

The Milkweed Mercantile at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is really excited to be able to share this food resource with our local community. We’re presenting a Shitake Mushroom Log Workshop on Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. With skilled assistance, each workshop participant will prepare and then take home 6-8 shitake mushroom-producing logs. Cost is $120 per person and includes all materials (already-cut logs, mushroom spawn, and needed tools), expert instruction, care directions, and a delicious mushroom-filled lunch. For more information or to register please go to milkweedmercantile.com/mushrooms or call 660-883-5522.

JOSEPH FREDRICK COLLIS (8/4/1939 – 4/13/ 2018)

Joseph Fredrick Collis, 78 of Kennett, Missouri formerly of Queen City, Missouri passed away at his home on Friday, April 13, 2018.

The son of Troy Emmett and Hazel Lee (McCartney) Collis, he was born on August 4, 1939 in rural Queen City, Missouri.  On December 3, 1971 in Queen City, Missouri, he was united in marriage to Sally Jane Shaffer and to this union 2 children were born, Georgia and Kenneth.

Survivors include his wife, Sally Jane Collis of Kennett, Missouri; his children, Georgia Skaggs and fiancé, David Miller of Kennett, Missouri and Kenneth Collis of Gideon, Missouri; four grandchildren, Joshua Solomon of Bevier, Missouri, Samantha Campbell of Kennett, Missouri, Jessica Garrison of Gideon, Missouri and Tashia Montgomery of Gideon, Missouri; several great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Paul A. Collis and wife, Mary Jo of Queen City, Missouri, Helen Oliver of Queen City, Missouri, Viola Beal of Queen City, Missouri, Ella Ann Guildford and husband, Ralph of Brookfield, Missouri, John Collis and wife, Marge of Brookfield, Missouri, Ann Groseclose and husband, Steve of Lancaster, Missouri, Dennis Lee Collis of Queen City, Missouri and Michael Collis and wife, Amanda of Brookfield, Missouri and other family members.

Joseph is preceded in death by his parents and four brothers, Karol Lee Collis, Troy E. Collis, Junior, Oliver Collis, and Marvin Eugene Collis

Joseph was a member of the Schuyler County Church of Faith in Lancaster, Missouri before moving to Kennett, Missouri.  He was also a member of the Boothill Tractor Club.  While living in the Queen City, Missouri area, he was a grain and livestock farmer.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at the Schuyler County Church of Faith in Lancaster, Missouri with Sonny Smyser, Pastor of the Schuyler County Church of Faith officiating.  Music was provided by Georgia Skaggs and David Miller, soloists performing special selections of “Amazing Grace”, “Delta Dawn” and “I Saw The Light”.

Pallbearers were Joshua Solomon, David Miller, Nathan Reed, Mike Collis, Paul Collis and Dennis Collis.  Honorary pallbearers were Anthony Campbell and Robert Macomber.

Memorials have been established for Bethel Cemetery.  Online condolences may be expressed to the family by logging on to normanfh.com.

Burial was in the Bethel Cemetery southwest of Glenwood, Missouri.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home of Lancaster, Missouri.

BERNICE HELEN (VICKREY) FORRESTER (5/30/1920 – 4/4/2018)

Bernice Helen Forrester, 97, of Tucson, Arizona, formerly of Memphis, Missouri, went to be with our Lord on April 4, 2018.

She was born May 30, 1920 in rural Macon County, Missouri, the daughter of Elmer and Bertha (Harris) Vickrey.

She graduated from Macon High School and attended Chillicothe Business College in Chillicothe, Missouri.

She worked as a secretary in business offices in Macon and Memphis for many years.  She was a member of the Memphis Rebekah Lodge #632 for over 60 years.  She was a member of First Baptist Church in Memphis, Missouri and later a member of El Camino Baptist Church in Tucson, Arizona.

Bernice married Robert L. Forrester on September 17, 1950, at Macon, Missouri.  To this union two daughters were born.

Bernice is survived by her two daughters and sons-in-law, Vickie Babbitt (Richard) of Kernersville, North Carolina, and Beverly Gordon (John) of Oak Ridge, North Carolina; two grandsons and their wives, Christopher Babbitt (Katie) and Shawn Babbitt (Ashley); four great-grandchildren; two step-granddaughters; and nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, parents, and one brother.

Bernice loved to spend time with her family.  She enjoyed reading the Bible and poetry, writing letters, cooking, and gardening.

A memorial service will be held at a later date in Memphis. The family suggests memorials be made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201, or a charity of your choice.

Triplett, Campbell Selected for the Missouri Agribusiness Academy

Parker Triplett of Rutledge, and Katie Campbell of Memphis were among the  30 high school sophomores recently selected to participate in the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA). The Scotland County R-I students will spend the first week of June in the St. Louis area learning about many of the unique opportunities available in agriculture.

“We are proud to announce another outstanding MAbA class. Our young people in agriculture, like Parker Triplett, set the bar high and model respect, determination, responsibility and service-values we in the industry strive to instill along with farming traditions,” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “MAbA empowers students to further develop those leadership skills and use them to enhance the future of Missouri agriculture and our rural communities.”

On Monday, June 4, the MAbA class will convene at the Missouri Department of Agriculture. After a Department overview and tour, the students will travel to St. Louis. During the 2018 Missouri Agribusiness Academy, the students will visit businesses and learn about career opportunities in animal and plant health, communications, forestry, value-added agriculture production and more. The students will end their week with a graduation ceremony at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Since 1988, the Missouri Agribusiness Academy has awarded more than 900 academy memberships through a competitive application and interview process for high school sophomores interested in pursuing agriculture-related college degrees and careers.

To be eligible for the Agribusiness Academy, students must come from a farming family or be an active member of the National FFA Organization or 4-H.

Triplett is a sophomore at Scotland County R-1 High School, where he is an active member of the Memphis FFA Chapter and Gorin Go-Getters 4-H Club. He is the son of Chad and Heidi Triplett.

Campbell is a sophomore at Scotland County R-1 High School, where she is an active member of the Memphis FFA Chapter and Gorin Go-Getters 4-H Club. She is the daughter of Kim and Zac Campbell.

JUDITH SPEERS CRAVENS (10/7/1941-4/4/2018)

Judith Speers Cravens, 76, of Stone Mountain, Georgia passed away peacefully on April 4, 2018.

Judi was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 7, 1941 and was married to Bobby Lee Cravens on November 8, 1959.

Judi was the President of Service By Air, Inc., a company created by both Judi and Bob in 1979. Judi was one of the first female Owner/Operators for several air freight companies working out of the Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport for ten years. In addition, Judi worked as a Home Health Aid in Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia. Demonstrating caring and compassion for people as well as animals was a significant focus. Throughout her life she was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Judi is survived by her children, Tracey Horton (Mack), Debra Herd (Joseph), Christine Thornton (Jason) and Michael Cravens (Kristin) and Patrick S. Cravens; grandchildren Robert B. Horton, Jaimie H. Buccellato (Andrew), Taylor P. Horton, Danielle E. Herd, Matthew J. Herd, Christopher T. Thornton (Katie), Kevin C. Thornton, Layne A. Rumsey (Dylan), Christopher W. Cravens, Nicholas A. Cravens; great-grandchildren Adeline E. Thornton and Jackson W. Thornton.

Judi is preceded in death by husband Bobby Lee Cravens; sister Lynn A. Speers; father James M. Speers; and mother Clara A. Speers.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to Longleaf Hospice Foundation (www.longleafhospice.com). Judi will join her husband Bobby Lee Cravens at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Rutledge Renegades

Reminder: Rutledge Fire Department is having their Chicken Bar-B-Q on Saturday, April 21st at the Rutledge Community Building.  Serving begins at 11:00 a.m.

Martin Guinn and Reva Hustead went to Diner 54 in Kirksville and ate a meal with Jenny and Randy Walker.

Doris Day and Dale Tague had supper with Larry and Tamara Tague at I.D.K’s in Baring.  Chicken was on the menu along with all the fixens. Report: Very Good.

Colony and Rutledge Flea Market was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Rainy day.

Neta Phillips went to Kirksville.

Roger Erickson from Oklahoma was here visiting family and friends.

Jon and Amy Guthrie of Trenton have a new baby girl Lucille (Lucy) Elaine.  She joins James and Nora.  Those visiting over the weekend at Jack and Cindy’s were Eilene and Carol, Cheryl, Lori and John, Nick, Kelli and Reid, and Grandma Elaine Schweizer.  Eilene now has four great-granddaughters and two great-grandsons.

Some of those in this weekend were Tim Morris, Dale Tague, Buck Tague, Neta Phillips, Charlene Montgomery, Bob and Dorothy Hunolt, Martin Guinn, Reva Hustead, Ronnie and Bonnie Young, Doris Day, Larry and Tamara Tague, Victor Chiders, Larry and Deanna Hubbard, Kris Harmelink, Oren and Celina Erickson, Roger Erickson, John Riddle, Lack White, Eldon Klocke, and Leon and Ann Shaw.

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