(whig.com) - Michael A. Studer, one of two Hannibal men accused of second-degree murder in the October shooting of a Hannibal convenience store worker, has pleaded guilty and will spend 25 years in prison.
Studer, 31, pleaded guilty on Monday afternoon to one count of second-degree murder. He opted to waive his right to have a sentencing assessment report done so he could immediately be sentenced by Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler. Studer had been scheduled to go to trial in September. He could have faced up to 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections without the plea agreement.
The Missouri Attorney Generalâ€™s Office prosecuted the case against Studer after Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton recused himself from the case. Studer was represented by Public Defender Jennifer Richardson. Attempts to get comment from the Attorney Generalâ€™s Office and Richardson were not successful Wednesday morning.
Studer was arrested in connection with the Oct. 8 shooting death of Adrienne Arnett, 61, at Abelâ€™s Quik Shop, 100 Shinn Lane, west of Hannibal.
The trial of a second man charged in the case, Gary J. Wiltermood, 23, is scheduled for July 16 in Boone County.
After he was arrested, Wiltermood told police that the shooting was the result of a robbery attempt gone bad in the early morning hours of Oct. 8. Arnett was shot about 3 a.m. while she was working the counter at the store, which is across the street from Hannibal Regional Hospital. Wiltermood told police that Studer was mastermind of the plan to rob the store and that Studer shot Arnett.
Wiltermood said he was driving around Hannibal with Studer and three other people in the early morning hours of Oct. 8 when he told Studer he wanted to get high on methamphetamine. The group then hatched a plan where Wiltermood would buy gas, and as he went into pay, Studer would rob the store with a .32-caliber New England five-shot double action revolver that Wiltermood had given him.
Wiltermood said Studer swung the pistol at Arnett before taking three shots. No money was taken during the heist, but Hannibal Police said lottery tickets and cigarettes were missing.
The pistol used in the shooting and clothes Studer wore during the shooting were thrown into the Mississippi River near downtown Hannibal, Wiltermood said.
Studer was given credit for 252 days served in the case. He had been held in the Marion County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
Wiltermood is still being held at the Marion County Jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.