State digest 04/27/02

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Autopsy shows man died of smoke inhalation

MILLER, Mo. -- An autopsy shows a Lawrence County man died of smoke inhalation after his mobile home caught fire.

Eldon Roe's death initially was considered suspicious because he was found in a back bedroom, with a shotgun between his legs.

Coroner Don Lakin said Friday that no gunshot wounds were found on Roe's body.

"The gun had nothing to do with it," Lakin said. "There was no trace of any shots."

Roe, 52, lived alone in the mobile home in rural Miller.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the fire, which happened early Thursday.

Man to be tried for attack on students

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Convicted felon Jeffrey Stumph has been ordered to stand trial in the January kidnap and rape of two Drury University students.

Stumph, 22, of Springfield waived his preliminary hearing on Monday in Greene County Associate Circuit Court and was bound over for trial. He was scheduled to be formally arraigned May 3.

Stumph is charged with two counts each of kidnapping, rape and armed criminal action, as well as one count of sodomy. The charges allege Stumph abducted at knifepoint and raped two female students in separate attacks near the private Springfield university.

Stumph was freed in September from prison after serving seven years for forcible rape, attempted forcible rape and felonious restraint.

House members may buy office equipment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- House members leaving office after this year will be able to take a bit of their office with them.

Representatives will be allowed to buy their electronic office equipment, thanks to a decision this week by the House Administration and Accounts Committee.

Computers and printers must be at least 3 years old to be purchased. There is no age cutoff on the other equipment. All sales will need committee approval.

Seventy-three of the 162 House members cannot seek re-election this year because of term limits.

The House has barred members from carting off equipment since a state audit criticized the practice in the mid-1990s.

Man bound over for trial in hammer attack

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A man accused in a hammer attack that killed one man and seriously injured another has been bound over for trial on charges of second-degree murder, assault and armed criminal action.

The slain man's daughter testified at a preliminary hearing Thursday that she saw Ronnie Newberry bury a claw hammer into her father's head.

Newberry, 40, of Versailles, faces arraignment May 3 in Greene County Circuit Court.

He is accused of killing Clarence Winters and injuring Winfield "Bill" Vaughn in the attack at the Winters home in February.

Vaughn remains hospitalized. His girlfriend, Martha Barton, said he is unable to walk and can barely speak.

-- From wire reports

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