The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

January 25, 2013

Trial delay denied in Joplin murder case

JOPLIN, Mo. — Circuit Judge David Mouton ruled Friday that the murder trial of William Laramore should remain on track for next week despite the defendant’s newly expressed desire to act as his own attorney and his related request for a continuance.

Laramore, 46, sent a notice to the judge on Thursday that he wished to “fire” his public defender and exercise his right to defend himself. He also sent the court a motion seeking a continuance to allow him time to access expert witnesses and to fortify his defense.

Laramore is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault in the slaying of Sean French, 46, and the beating of Steve Shockley, 50, on Nov. 14, 2010, inside the defendant’s home at 814 W. A St. in Joplin. The case is set to go to trial Wednesday in Jasper County Circuit Court, and a jury pool already has been summoned.

“I need you to understand even if I grant this request, it doesn’t mean I’m going to strike this trial setting,” Mouton told Laramore at the start of a hearing on the matter. “It’s been set for a long time.”

The defendant’s written notice that he wished to act as his own attorney expressed dissatisfaction with the representation of public defender Brett Meeker. When the judge asked him why he wished to “fire” Meeker, he said: “Because I haven’t got nothing done that I need done.”

He said “the forensics” in his case in particular need to be looked at more extensively to turn up evidence in support of a contention that he was acting in self-defense the night of the alleged crimes. The statement elicited a quick response from Assistant Prosecutor John Podleski, who told the judge it was “news to the state” that the defendant was now claiming self-defense.

“He never told police anything about self-defense,” Podleski said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Faretta v. California in 1975 that a defendant has a constitutional right to defend himself. In 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the capital murder conviction of Gary Black in Jasper County, ruling that Black should have been granted the opportunity to defend himself.

After questioning Laramore about the matter, Mouton decided that the defendant was not expressing an unequivocal desire to act as his own attorney and denied his motion for a continuance.

Before making those decisions, the judge asked Laramore about his educational background and experience with the law. The defendant described himself as a stonemason who graduated from high school in California at the age of 16, but he was unable to explain how it was that he earned the credits to graduate early.

When asked what legal training or experience he had with the law, Laramore said he’d performed “paralegal stuff” in prison.

Despite references to various amendments of the U.S. Constitution in his motion for a continuance, the defendant admitted that he had not seen a lawbook in six years. When the judge asked him if he wished to reconsider his request, he responded: “Yes, but I need a continuance.”

The judge then attempted to clarify what Laramore was expressing as a desire to reconsider. Was it his intention to act as his own attorney?

“I don’t even know at this point,” the defendant said, which resulted in the judge’s decision that he was not expressing an unequivocal desire.

State motion

Judge David Mouton has granted a prosecution request to depose murder case witness and alleged assault victim Steve Shockley for the purpose of preserving his testimony for trial, since Shockley is currently hospitalized and may not be able to testify at next week’s trial of William Laramore.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 22, 2014

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014