Eight people are charged in the kidnapping and murder of James McNeely, an Ohio drifter who was found dead in a tractor-trailer near Vandalia a few days before Christmas 2009. Last week, a trucker, his wife and a 19-year-old son pleaded not guilty to killing McNeely, who was allegedly beaten, strangled and suffocated in their basement. When police were tipped off about McNeely's death, they went to the suspects' home, where a 20-hour standoff ensued.
I've been reading several articles about the slaying, and the narrative is a little twisty. Nobody in authority has spelled out why McNeely was killed. The Hannibal paper quotes the AP quoting relatives, who speculated the motive might have been drug-related.
I liked this bit from the Courier-Post's report:
Earlier, before the hearing began, Chester Harvey was led into the courtroom and seated in a chair near the jury box away from other prisoners.
“Is this the one with the current in it?” he jokingly asked deputies.