Clay Waller to make court appearance on murder charge June 4

Sunday, May 20, 2012
In this file photo, Clay Waller, center, is escorted to a police vehicle after a court hearing at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, where he appeared on charges of stealing and harassment. (Kristin Eberts)

A little more than a year after his wife's disappearance, Clay Waller will make his initial court appearance on charges that he murdered her and tampered with evidence to hide the crime.

Waller will make his initial court appearance June 4 in Jackson, Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said. He will appear in front of Circuit Court Judge Gary Kamp at the county courthouse. Swingle said the purpose of the appearance will be to determine whether Waller will have a private attorney or a public defender and to establish a date for a preliminary appearance, which usually takes place within 30 days.

Clay Waller is accused of the murder of his wife, Jacque Waller, last June. Prosecutors allege he killed his wife after the estranged couple visited a divorce lawyer June 1. Jacque Waller never showed up that day at the Ste. Genevieve, Mo., home where she had been staying since March, and her abandoned Honda Pilot was found on the side of Interstate 55. Her body hasn't been found.

In a probable-cause affidavit, investigators said Jacque Waller had documented abuse and threats from Clay Waller over several years. Investigators also said Clay Waller was uncooperative in the investigation into his wife's disappearance and gave conflicting reports of what happened.

Clay Waller has maintained his innocence since Jacque Waller's disappearance.

Scott Reynolds, who has represented Waller on other state charges, said Friday that he's not yet been retained to represent Clay Waller on the murder and tampering charges.

"I want to represent him and he wants me to represent him, but I'm not paying for it out of my pocket," Reynolds said.

He said to defend Clay Waller, he needs resources to take depositions and hire expert witnesses.

"Without adequate funds, It would be like running a mule in the Kentucky Derby," Reynolds said.

Clay Waller is currently serving time in a federal prison in Oakdale, La. He pleaded guilty to charges of making an Internet threat against Jacque Waller's sister, who has custody of the couple's triplets, in the days following the disappearance. He was sentenced to five years in prison in January.

Reynolds said he had remained in contact with Clay Waller, who had called him from prison twice a week until just after the murder charge was filed.

Reynolds said he believes Clay Waller has been put in isolation and the prison is denying him access to his attorney. Waller has been contacting a brother, who told Reynolds that Clay Waller is only allowed one call a week now. The brother has been relaying messages from Clay Waller to Reynolds.

A call to a spokesman for the Federal Correction Center in Oakdale was not immediately returned.

The specific time of Waller's appearance June 4 is yet to be determined.

salderman@semissourian.com

388-3648

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Oakdale, LA

100 Court St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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