The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 10, 2013

Vernon County man bound over for trial in estranged wife’s murder

NEVADA, Mo. — Bob T. Beisly II waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday on a charge that he is responsible for his estranged wife’s murder almost four years ago.

Beisly, 57, waived the hearing in Vernon County Circuit Court and was ordered bound over for trial. Associate Judge Neal Quitno set his initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Tuesday.

Beisly, a rancher, and his alleged accomplice and farm hand, Jeremy L. Maples, 33, are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Belinda J. Beisly, 47, on the night of July 14-15, 2009, inside her home north of Deerfield. Both men remain in custody with no bonds set. Maples is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing May 22.

Tyce Stuart Smith, the attorney for Beisly, told Quitno that he was advising his client to waive his preliminary hearing because the record of any testimony by a witness at the hearing might be used against him by the prosecution at trial in the eventuality that the witness was no longer able to testify.

“It is my usual proclivity in that kind of situation not to take that risk,” Smith told the judge.

The state’s case against the defendants remains sketchy in court record, and investigators have revealed little about what evidence they possess.

A probable-cause affidavit alleges that in August of last year Maples provided a statement to sheriff’s investigators detailing how Beisly offered him money to kill his estranged wife who was in the process of obtaining a divorce from him.

Maples told them that he and Beisly had discussed killing her three or four times in the year before her murder, and Beisly offered to pay him $10,000 to do it. The second time they talked about it, Beisly told him that he needed to make it look like a break-in and shoot her with a gun taken from a gun safe in her home, according to the affidavit. They also had discussed how her schedule changed every other week, with her home in the afternoons one week and then not getting home until midnight or later the next, the affidavit states.

Maples reportedly told investigators that on July 14, 2009, Beisly told him while working together in a pole barn that she had to be killed that night. Later the same day, while they were in his pickup truck, Beisly repeated that it had to be done that night, the affidavit states.

Maples further told investigators that after the murder, his paycheck increased “by several hundred dollars for several months and quit as abruptly as it began,” according to the affidavit. The document states that Maples told them he never asked Beisly why it increased or why it later reverted to its usual amount.

The affidavit goes on to state that Maples ultimately admitted to being in Belinda Beisly’s residence the night in question but denied committing the murder.

The defendant’s son, Bob T. Beisly III, reportedly told investigators that his father also had offered him varying amounts of money to kill Belinda Beisly over the years. Those offers ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, and his father suggested that he do it with a shotgun, the son told investigators, according to the affidavit. The son further acknowledged that he was present on one occasion when his father offered Maples $10,000 to do the job.

The affidavit alleges that the son said his father dropped a check off at his house the afternoon of July 15, 2009, and told him matters were “about to get hot.” A short time late, the son learned that Belinda Beisly had been killed.

Cooperating witnesses

Two unnamed cooperating witnesses have told investigators that Bob Beisly II made prior efforts to hire someone to harm his estranged wife. One witness claims he tried to hire a hitchhiker to kill her in 2006 or 2007. The second witness reported that he offered to pay him $1,000 to assault her in 2008.

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