Waller preliminary hearing to be Wednesday

Monday, July 23, 2012
Clay Waller

Family members of Jacque Waller, the Jackson woman who went missing last year, said they plan to be in attendance this week when her estranged husband has a preliminary hearing in her disappearance.

"Wild horses couldn't keep me away," said Stan Rawson, the father of Jacque Waller, who went missing more than a year ago. "We want to see justice for Jacque. We'll be there."

On April 23, prosecutors charged Clay Waller with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in Jacque Waller's disappearance. His preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"This is just one step in what will be a brutal process for Jacque's family and friends, many of whom are expected to be in attendance," Laura Helbig, a Rawson family spokeswoman, said in a statement. "The evidence will speak for itself."

Authorities have said Clay Waller was the last to see Jacque Waller alive June 1, 2011.

"This will pretty much be the first time we'll see him since he's been accused," Rawson said. "I think what we've been through this past year, it doesn't get much worse. We'll buck up, no problem."

Public defender Christopher Davis has been assigned Clay Waller's case. The preliminary hearing is scheduled to be held before Associate Circuit Court Judge Gary Kamp.

"I don't have any discovery or anything yet," Davis said. "We're going into this without any police reports. If Judge Kamp decides there's enough evidence to move forward on trial, he will assign the case to one of the other judges, and an arraignment would take place within about two weeks."

In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence and testimony against the defendant to convince a judge that a trial is needed. A judge can grant the trial or decide there's not enough evidence to proceed.

The defense will file its request for discovery, the compulsory disclosure of evidence against the defendant, at the arraignment.

According to a probable-cause statement, Jacque Waller had been living in Ste. Genevieve County since March 2011, while Clay Waller had been living in Jackson.

On the day Jacque Waller disappeared, the Wallers had met with an attorney about divorce proceedings. At the meeting, the couple argued about financial problems, according to the document prepared by Jackson police chief James Humphreys.

Jacque Waller's blue Honda Pilot was seen into the evening on the day she went missing at the house where Clay Waller was staying.

Clay Waller has denied any wrongdoing related to Jacque Waller's disappearance.

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.

Clay Waller was serving the sentence in a federal prison in Oakdale, La., until he was returned to Cape Girardeau County for an arraignment on the charges in June.

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department Lt. David James said Clay Waller must appear in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing.

"Prelims are not done on closed circuit. He will be in the courtroom. He will be afforded protection by the sheriff's office," James said.

jgamm@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

100 Court St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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