The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 18, 2014

Murder trial under way in McDonald County

PINEVILLE, Mo. — The murder trial of Boyd Marcum began Tuesday with attorneys offering differing takes on the mix of competing friendships, resentment, desire and jealousy that led to the slaying of Kevin Anderson.

The fact that Marcum, 30, stabbed Anderson, 29, in the chest with a pocketknife the night of Sept. 30 is not at issue. Whether it was self-defense is.

The slaying took place in the home of Megan Banks and Craig Ruble at 508 Fourth St. in Anderson.

Marcum, his wife, Ashley, and their three children had been staying with Banks and Ruble for a week or more while trying to get back on their feet financially. Anderson, a close friend of Ruble’s, had shown up the previous night and obtained permission to crash on a mattress in the couple’s garage.

Prosecutor Jonathan Pierce told jurors during opening statements that the following night, Banks, Ruble and Anderson were sitting at a table outside the house, and the subject arose that the Marcums had overstayed their welcome. Pierce said Anderson offered to tell them it was time they moved on.

He said the defendant did not like being told that by Anderson. He liked it even less when Anderson began flirting with his wife and another woman, Brittany Wilkens, that night, the prosecutor said. The flirtation even went so far as both women giving Anderson their underwear, Pierce told the jury.

Later, Wilkens, Boyd Marcum and Anderson were in the garage together, and Ruble came out to offer some marijuana to smoke. He came upon Marcum and Wilkens in a clinch, the prosecutor said.

“He’ll tell you they were groping each other, had some type of relationship, even though his wife was there in the house,” Pierce said.

He said those were among the events of the night leading up to the fight in the living room between the defendant and Anderson that claimed Anderson’s life.

Public defender Marshall Miller cast the night’s events in a decidedly different light. He said the evidence will show that Anderson was drinking heavily and later tested for a blood-alcohol content more twice the legal threshold for drunken driving in Missouri.

He said testimony will show that Anderson had made comments that he had not had sex since a split-up with his wife several months previously and that he focused his desire on Wilkens that night.

“She herself will tell you she became less receptive to his advances the more drunk he got and the more touchy he got,” Miller told jurors.

He said Wilkens went inside the house with Marcum, leaving Anderson in the garage to get away from him. But Anderson came after them, yelling at Marcum, who he perceived as getting in the way of his pursuit of Wilkens, Miller said.

All three witnesses who saw what happened in the living room will testify that Anderson attacked Marcum, grabbing him by the throat, Miller said. Ashley Marcum and Wilkens were yelling at Anderson to stop, he said. But Anderson kept choking Marcum, “to the point where Boyd was losing face color and couldn’t breathe,” Miller said. He said his client then pulled out his pocketknife and stabbed Anderson once in the chest.

“That’s all you’re going to hear; there’s only one,” Miller said of the slain man’s wounds.

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  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

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