Jefferson County Judge Darrell Missey denied a motion to to vacate his dismissal of a writ filed against the Franklin County Prosecutor and the county.
In April Judge Missey dismissed a writ of mandamus filed against Robert Parks and Franklin County calling for the prosecutor to remove himself from the case against three suspects accused in the 2016 death of Kenneth Allen Jr., 70, Washington.
On Friday, May 11, the relators in the writ, Allen’s daughter, Kathy Allen, and Vincent Bandermann, a county resident, under the organization, “Justice for Ken, et al.” filed a motion to vacate Judge Missey’s dismissal of the writ.
Judge Missey denied that motion Tuesday.
According to Kathy Allen, Justice for Ken will file an appeal on the civil case against Parks and the county.
A hearing for three suspects accused in the death of a former drug counselor has been continued now that a new motion has been filed in a civil suit against the Franklin County prosecutor.
Due to the civil motion, the hearing in the criminal case against Timothy D. Wonish, 32, Whitney D. Robins, 29, and Blake S. Schindler, 18, has been continued to July 6.
The hearing had been set for Thursday, May 17, in front of 12th District Judge Michael S. Wright. The suspects are all charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter.
In the dismissal, Judge Missey cited a previous Franklin County case, State v. Eckelkamp, when the Eastern District Court of Appeals ruled that Parks could not be removed from cases that included the public defender’s office in which Parks allegedly would enter into plea negotiations.
In his ruling, the judge also stated the decision to disqualify a prosecuting attorney lies within the “discretion of the trial court.”
However, in the motion to vacate the judgment, it states that the dismissal is a “reversible error” that did not “follow proper law and procedure for motions to dismiss” because the court ruled on merits of the relators’ claims, instead of simply if the petition met the elements for a “cause of action in mandamus.”
The relators are represented by Michael A. Benner.
Judge Wright was appointed by the state Supreme Court Jan. 26 to hear the case against Wonish, Robins and Schindler after Franklin County Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann recused himself from the case.
Judge Hellmann was the third judge slated to hear the case. In February 2017, Judge Ike Lamke recused himself from the case. Then in March 2017 it was assigned to Judge Gael D. Wood, who retired in October 2017. The case was assigned to Judge Hellmann in December.
The defendants were indicted last year by a Franklin County grand jury on the charges of felony murder, first-degree burglary and receiving stolen property in the death of Allen, which occurred at his home south of Washington.
According to the court records, Allen was found lying in a pool of blood with his hands and feet bound behind him in his Washington area home.
The medical examiner’s report indicates Allen died from asphyxiation due to neck compressions.
Court records state that Robins made statements to investigators during her arrest admitting that she was present at the time of the killing and that she participated in tying up Allen’s legs.
The suspects were located at a residence shortly before midnight Nov. 4, 2016, in South St. Louis County and were in possession of items that belonged to Allen, according to investigators with the St. Louis Major Case Squad.
Court records issued last month state that when Schindler was arrested he was in possession of Allen’s credit cards, checkbooks and other documents allegedly taken from the victim’s home.