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.

SC Little Paw’s to Host Fall Fest October 29th


Would you like your children, daughters or sons, to have a great day of fun, dancing and playing group games with the Scotland County High School Little Paws?  Then mark October 29th on your calendar because from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. at the Scotland County High School, a day of learning large group and small group routines, and playing games with the SC Little Paws is something your child can look forward to.  The day will also include snacks and cheek cheers.

Parents are encouraged to attend their child’s performance of their routine at 2:00 p.m.

The cost for the day will be $15, which includes a t-shirt and snacks.  The children will need to bring a sack lunch.

Please sign up by October 21st so we can make sure each child receives a t-shirt.  The pom clinic is open to all girls and boys from three years to 8th grade.  Call Marie Brown at 465-2036 to register or with any questions.

We will also have our Yummy-Lix Lollipops available to the children for fifty cents each if they are interested.  And if you did not receive a pom calendar we will have some available for $5 each.

Hope to see you and your child/children on the 29th!

Downing House Hosts Candlelit Tour of the Past


The Downing House Museum Complex and members of the community hosted an “Evening at the Museum – Candlelit Tour of the Past” this past weekend, October 14th and 15th.  Approximately 240 people attended the event, raising $1,200.00. Volunteers portrayed various characters and wrote their own dialogue for the two-night performance.  Characters included: a one-room school teacher (Lois Quenneville), William Downing (Joe Fulk, who also provided the welcome), Dr. A. M. Keethler (Harlo Donelson), Ella Ewing (Teresa Cotton), the Depot ticket master (Tom Cotton), Tom Horn (Jeff Dyer), a Civil War soldier (Chris Kempke), a barber (Larry Riney), Granny Green (Anna Lynn Kirkpatrick), and a blacksmith (Frank Wineinger).  Tour guides for the evening included Lynette Dyer, Rhonda McBee, Leslie Clark, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, Janet Hamilton, Brooke Wineinger, Angie Wentworth, Elle Wentworth, Melissa Miler, Gary Miller, Angela Westhoff, Scott Westhoff, and Jan Slayton.  Box office volunteers were Debbie Seamster, Ruth Ann Cairn and Pam Shalley.  Sheila Berkowitz made the flyers, tickets and videotaped the event.  Pam Shalley served as photographer.  Elaine Forrester provided refreshments including cookies, punch and wassail and Alisa Kigar’s 4-H group donated some of the cookies.







Photos by Pam Shalley

Hospital Pharmacy Celebrates National Pharmacy Week      

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

The Scotland County Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is celebrating National Pharmacy Week, October 16 –  22.  Pharmacy Week acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other healthcare settings.  During Pharmacy Week, Scotland County Hospital celebrates and recognizes the significant role that our Hospital Pharmacy plays as a member of the healthcare team.

The Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is staffed by Matt McKee RPh, Director of Pharmacy, Jennifer Laws BSPS, Supervisor of the Pharmacy Department and Danielle Waterman CPhT, Certified Pharmacy Technician.  No matter the time of day or night, our physicians can write an order for a medication for our in-patients and the medication will be administered promptly after interactions have been checked, thanks to the staff in the Pharmacy Department and their cooperation with the physicians and nurses at Scotland County Hospital as well as the staff of Scotland County Pharmacy and Blessing Hospital pharmacists.

Many patients and their families are not aware that the Hospital’s pharmacy staff play a critical role in preventing medication errors, collaborating with other disciplines to optimally manage patients medication needs, improving safety and patient outcomes, and advising prescribers on the best drug choices, all while maintaining the proper inventory to meet the needs of the patients.

Although medicine can make you well, it can also harm you if it is not taken the right way. That’s why you need to know all you can about all the medicine you take. While you’re at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO, the pharmacy staff is here to make sure that you receive the best and safest medications that aid you in your comfort and recovery.

Scotland County Speedway to Host Memphis Fall Nationals this Weekend


Racing action will return to the Scotland County Speedway this weekend for the annual Memphis Fall Nationals. The local track will host a two-day show October 21st and 22nd featuring modifieds, stock cars, sportmods, hobby stocks, sport compacts and late models.

With temps expected be in the high 60’s as highs and around 50 for the lows, the racing will continue this weekend at the Scotland County Speedway for the Fall Nationals,” said promoter Mike Van Genderen. “This show has been a huge tradition for many years and has become one of the favorite shows for many racers.”

Curt Marks of Dubuque Moving and Storage has added to the late model purse, making it $1,000 to win, which should add to the field of fastest cars at the speedway.

The track will host open practice for all classes from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Hot laps will start at 7 p.m. on Friday night and at 6 p.m. for Saturday’s show.

With modifieds, sportsmods, stock cars and now late models all vying or a $1,000 top prize, the track is expecting a large car count as the 2016 racing season winds down across the Midwest.

The races will also be broadcast live on Speed Shift TV at www.speedshiftTV.com.

Cayden Carter captured victories on both nights of the Memphis Bottom Heavy Nationals held at the start of the month at SCS with his 10C modified. The Oskaloosa driver will be looking to keep his streak alive.

Tommy Elston was the winner in the late models while Jason Cook and Jeff Mueller staged a battle in the stock cars, splitting the wins.

More than two dozen sportmods participated in the Bottom Heavy Nationals, with the stock cars and modifieds also more than 20 racers, numbers the Fall Nationals should duplicate or exceed.

Grandstand tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Pit passes will be $30 nightly or $55 for the two-day show.

For more info contact Mike Van Genderen at 6441-521-0330.

Missouri Department of Insurance Offers Free Assistance To Seniors During Medicare Open Enrollment 

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians eligible for Medicare to review their plan options and costs during this year’s open enrollment. To help Missouri consumers choose a plan that best meets their needs, the department offers free assistance through the CLAIM program.

CLAIM provides unbiased help to Missourians on Medicare and their caregivers. During the annual open enrollment period, which runs October 15 through December 7, consumers can change their Part D drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.

“Plans and prices can change from year to year and what you had last year may not be what is right for you this year,” said John Huff, director of the Insurance Department. “Contacting a CLAIM counselor could result in better coverage, more savings or both.”

Missouri consumers can ask questions by phone or arrange one-on-one counseling by calling 1-800-390-3330 or visiting missouriclaim.org. The website also offers a list of free open enrollment events that CLAIM is hosting throughout Missouri during open enrollment.

CLAIM can also assist consumers, who have limited income, determine if they qualify for programs to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Consumers with complaints or questions about insurance can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Haunted House/Safe Stops Coming Soon!


by Andrea Brassfield

With Halloween less than two weeks away, local organizations are preparing activities for area trick-or-treaters.  On Thursday, October 27th, the Scotland County Care Center is hosting their first annual Haunted House.  The event will be open from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and admission is a free will donation.  The Haunted House will be located at the front entrance/activity room of the Care Center.  Everyone is invited.

The Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce is also hosting their annual Safe Stops on Monday, October 31st from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Children may visit Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce members for Trick-or-Treating.

You will see a bright orange flyer at participating businesses which have treats for the costumed little ones.  Crossing guards will also be posted at each corner of the Memphis Square where most of the members will be set up.

There are several MACC members who do not have a store front on or near the square, but do have treats at their business locations on Highway 136 and Highway 15.  Names of the participating MACC businesses will be published in the Memphis Democrat.  Only those businesses with an orange flyer are officially recognized as a Safe Stop.  A parent or adult should accompany the children.

As a reminder, Harlo Donelson is offering a Halloween Candy Buy Back.  The dental office will pay $4.00 per pound for your goodies, $3.00 he will give to you and $1.00 will be donated to the reading program at the elementary school.

Along with the candy and costumes comes the need for added caution as youngsters venture out onto the streets to trick-or-treat.  Drivers are asked to be extra safe this weekend.  Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those times.

Children should be reminded to walk with an adult, remain on well-lit streets, if sidewalks aren’t available, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic, and never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Chinese Delegates Agree to Buy $2.1 Billion More U.S. Soybeans

DES MOINES (Oct. 14, 2016) – Six weeks ago, Chinese buyers committed to purchase nearly $1.8 billion worth of U.S. soy, totaling 146 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. Friday, Chinese buyers made an even larger commitment, signing contracts worth $2.1 billion of U.S. soy, or 5.1 million tons.

The new commitments were signed at a ceremony held in Des Moines and attended by seven of the top Chinese buyers of U.S. soy, Chinese commerce officials, top Iowa state officials and representatives from the U.S. soy industry. The signing ceremony was hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Iowa Soybean Association. Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey were in attendance.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad talked about the trust, honor and respect that have helped foster the long relationship between Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. soybean farmers, sharing a photograph that shows the Chinese leader’s first visit to Iowa in 1985. “It’s pretty neat to have the president of China call you an ‘old friend,’” he stated.

This year, U.S. soybean farmers are projected to export a record amount of soy and soy products, up from 62.88 million metric tons of soy and soy products, valued at $27.7 billion, in 2015. International buyers are turning to U.S. soy for a variety of reasons, including its quality, sustainability and reliability, to name a few.

China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA) president Brian Zhenhu spoke about the trade collaboration between the U.S. and China. “This signing ceremony is just one manifestation of our cooperation,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by the U.S. soy industry. “We were honored to be joined by a group of Chinese provincial officials and crush company representatives, who traveled 7,000 miles to meet with U.S. exporters to sign 16 purchasing agreements,” said Jim Miller, USSEC chair, American Soy Association (ASA) director and Nebraska soybean farmer. “These agreements are an example fo the strong partnerships between the U.S. soy value chain and the international buyers who purchase our crop.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies.

For more information, contact Lisa Humphreys at (636) 449-6040 or LHumphreys@ussec.org

RICHARD W. BILLINGS (8/23/1946 – 10/17/2016)


Richard Wayne Billings, 70, of Gorin, died Monday, October 17, 2016 at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis.

He was born the son of Ross “Shorty” and Stella Margaret (Davis) Billings on August 23, 1946 on a hill in Scotland County.

Richard graduated from Wyaconda C-1 High School.   He joined the United States Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant, before being discharged in 1972.

He married the former Beverly Marie Hicks on May 28, 1988 in Kirksville.   She survives.

Richard worked as a machine operator at Metzler Automotive in Keokuk.  He was member of the United Steel Workers #444. Upon retirement, he devoted his time to farming.

He was a member of the American Legion and a former member of the Bible Grove Saddle Club.

Richard had a special interest in cattle, AC tractors, and his dog Ruby.   He was fond of his horses, cows, and dogs.   He always looked forward to reading the NEMO Trader when it came out.   Richard especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Tom Billings; and a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Chris and Cindy Van Hoozen.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of the home; his children, Lesia (Rick) Hunziker and Les (Erin) Billings of Kahoka and Kimberly (Kevin) Carr of Warsaw, IL; stepchildren, Jennifer (Troy) Esser and Shawna Stone and special friend, Bubba Hauk, of Memphis; grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Raelynn, Logan, Lauren, Vince, Garrett, Wyatt, Clint, Laura (Craig), and Trent (Amber); step grandchildren, Nichole (Jimmy), Caleb, John, Whitney, Emma, Grace, Phillip, Katie (Colton), Mason, Kenny, Jaycen, Heather (David), Carrissa (John), Nakiya, Kody and Kaleb; 22 step-great-grandchildren; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral services will be at noon on Thursday, October 20, at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with Shawn McAfee, pastor of the Peaksville Christian Church, officiating.   Burial will follow in the Etna Cemetery.

Military rites will be performed by the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial V.F.W. Post #4958 of Memphis.

Visitation is prior to the service, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday, at Gerth Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the Scotland County Cancer Fund or the Clark County Local Cancer Fund and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Online condolences may be sent to the Billings family by signing the online guest book at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.



Proud parents Zach and Jessica McBee of Memphis are happy to announce the birth of their daughter Payton Leigh McBee on October 1, 2016 at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. Payton weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Grandparents are Jim and Rhonda McBee of Memphis, Valerie Bair and Patrick Hines of Memphis, and Doug Bair of Kansas City. Payton is the McBee’s first child.

Scotland County Health Department Schedule

Thursday, October 20 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations. A nurse will be available at the Scotland County Nutrition site to do blood pressure checks.

Friday, October 21 – Clinic hours from 8:00-3:30 for fasting blood sugars, cholesterols and blood draws, immunizations, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Tuesday, October 25 – Clinic hours from 8-9:00 a.m. for fasting blood sugars and cholesterols and blood draws and from 12-2:30 p.m. for immunizations, blood pressure checks, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Thursday, October 27 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations.

« Older Entries