The evidence filed for Tuesday's hearing paints a portrait of violent and threatening behavior from one of Clay Waller's past relationships that bears similarities to the testimony his sister-in-law and guardian of his three children, Cheryl Brenneke, delivered at the hearing.
At the hearing, Waller was sentenced to five years in federal prison for threatening Brenneke on the online message board Topix after pleading guilty to the crime in October. Federal prosecutor Larry Ferrell submitted 24 pieces of evidence to get a judge to significantly vary from the suggested six- to 12-month sentence. But only Brenneke's testimony was presented in court Tuesday.
Judge Stephen Limbaugh saw the other 23 pieces of evidence before the hearing, Ferrell said, and varied greatly from the recommended sentence to impose the maximum penalty on Waller. Limbaugh said that, based on the evidence -- which includes carpet from Clay Waller's home with estranged wife Jacque Waller's blood on it -- Clay Waller more than likely murdered his wife, who has been missing since June 1.
In her testimony, Brenneke detailed the constant paranoia and fear her younger sister felt before disappearing. Jacque never felt safe, Brenneke said. She constantly left Clay, only to come back to him time and again despite threats on her and her children's lives, Brenneke said.
During her three-month separation from Clay, Brenneke said, Jacque dealt with his seemingly undying jealousy and a barrage of threats. Clay wanted to know if she was seeing anyone, and if she was, he would inevitably kill her, Brenneke testified.
The evidence contains a statement from Clay Waller's former girlfriend and mother of his first child that illustrates the mental and physical abuse she said she endured during and after her relationship with Waller.
On June 2, 1993, Waller, then 23, threatened his former girlfriend, who he dated for three years, her boyfriend and parents, according to the handwritten statement.
The next morning, the woman confronted Waller at his job about paying their then-18-month-old son's day care bill. An argument ensued, and Waller told the woman he was upset and had bought a gun. He then showed her a bullet hole in a door, according to the statement.
Waller wanted the woman to see "how smooth the bullet goes in," according to the statement.
"He also told me that if he can't have me no one will and that when he knew there was not any chance of him getting me back that he would make my life hell," the woman wrote in the statement.
Later that day, the woman and her boyfriend confronted Waller about the threats in a convenience store parking lot in Cape Girardeau. An argument ensued, and Waller backed his truck into the woman's parked car, striking it with such force that it moved despite the parking brake being on.
Waller was charged with and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and received a 30-day suspended sentence.
On June 4, 1993, the woman filed for and received an ex-parte agreement. In her application, the woman noted that Waller continually threatened her.
In granting the ex parte, Judge Marybelle Mueller wrote that there is "an immediate and present danger of abuse to [the woman]."
Ten days later, Waller violated the agreement when he called the woman, according to an affidavit filed by Ferrell. Waller was issued a summons for violating the agreement.
On the night of June 20, 1993, the woman said she and her boyfriend were driving on Highway 74 in Cape Girardeau when Waller began following them with his high beams on. Waller pulled in front of the couple and braked suddenly, causing the woman to slam on her brakes and swerve to the right shoulder, narrowly avoiding an accident, according to the affidavit. Waller waved and extended his middle finger toward the couple before driving away, the statement said.
Waller received a summons for the incident.
Waller left a note after slashing the tires on a car that belonged to a relative of the woman's boyfriend two days later, according to the affidavit.
"I almost told you should be scared of me because I'm going to f--- you up because of your f------ brother," Waller wrote. "I hope you sleep well."
While the woman and her boyfriend read the note, they were shot at from what appeared to be a pellet gun, according to the affidavit. The two believed the shots came from Waller's nearby business.
Waller was given a summons for violating the order because of the note left on the car, according to the affidavit.
Ferrell and Waller's attorney, Scott Tilsen, declined to comment on the evidence in the case. Waller raised no objections to the use of any of the statements or any other evidence submitted for the hearing, as evidenced by his waiver of pretrial motions.
In his sentencing memorandum, Tilsen said the assault conviction should not warrant departure from the sentencing guidelines.
"A single 19-year-old conviction, even bolstered by several pages of police reports from those allegations falls far short of the required showing, even coupled with the disputed and unresolved current state court misdemeanor charge," Tilsen wrote.
In addition to his 1993 ex parte, Waller had a restraining order filed against him by another former girlfriend on July 27 of last year. In the restraining order, Judge Scott Lipke wrote that Waller presented a clear and present danger to the woman.
The same day the order was issued, Waller allegedly called the woman to tell her he was waiting for her to come home. Frightened, the woman called her ex-husband, who called Waller to tell him to stay away, according to the affidavit. In a three-way phone conversation involving the former girlfriend, her ex-husband and Waller, Waller allegedly told the woman he was going to kill her and was knocking on the door, according to the affidavit.
That's when the man hung up and called 911.
The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department later retrieved Waller's phone records and found that he had called the woman that night. He was charged with harassment the same day. The charge is one of at least two state charges Waller will face once he is released from federal prison.
Waller is also charged with stealing $55,000 from the Delta Cos. in April 2010 for construction work not performed.
The court dates for those charges have been delayed while he is in federal custody.
499 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO