A Washington man who was sentenced Monday to life in prison for the murder of a Union woman could face trial on other felony charges in the future.
Circuit Judge Gael Wood found Timothy D. Shults, 47, guilty of first-degree murder Monday for strangling Deborah Marsch, 53, in July 2009.
More details on the sentencing hearing can be found in the Union section of this issue.
Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks said Shults will be transferred to a maximum security prison in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Under the first-degree murder verdict he will not be eligible for parole.
Shults could have been sentenced to death for first-degree murder, but Parks agreed to waive the death penalty if the defendant agreed to a bench trial which was held last June.
After hearing evidence and testimony, Judge Wood took the case under advisement until Monday’s sentencing hearing.
Marsch was strangled to death July 3, 2009, in Union’s Autumn Hill Park in an apparent random act of violence.
The day after the murder, Shults allegedly broke into his then-estranged wife’s home in Washington, waited for her to return, then forced her to go with him to the Labadie area. There, he asked her to walk with him into the woods but she refused and eventually convinced him to release her, authorities allege.
After the alleged abduction was reported, Washington police began an investigation and contacted Union police who were familiar with Shults and his ex-wife who lives in Union.
Investigators went to the ex-wife’s home where they found Shults. During questioning, the man admitted to killing Marsch and took them to property off Judith Spring Road where he hid the body.
Shults is charged in two other pending felony cases for alleged incidents prior to Marsch’s murder.
In one case he is charged with one count of second-degree burglary in the May 30, 2009, break-in of a residence in the 2400 block of East Fifth Street along with misdemeanor charges of stealing, property damage and violation of an order of protection.
Washington police reported that someone broke a window at the home and stole items including family photographs and Christmas decorations. A police officer stopped Shults later that night and during questioning the suspect admitted to entering the home and stealing the items. He was held overnight and released pending a decision on possible charges.
Shults also is charged with felony aggravated stalking in a June 30, 2009, incident investigated by Washington police, according to court records.
Both cases have been bound over to circuit court.
Parks said his staff will take another look at those cases.
“We’ll be reviewing those cases in light of the judge’s decision,” Parks said Monday. “We’ll have to go back and decide how we want to pursue those.”
Even though he’s serving life with no chance of parole, Shults could be tried and sentenced in those other felony cases.
There also are two misdemeanor cases of violating orders of protection pending in associate circuit court.