Judge orders 2 to stand trial in shooting death of Springfield man

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:46 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A judge ordered two to trial in the shooting death of a Springfield man.

Paul Morales and Rickey Rose face second-degree murder charges in the death of Chandler Sweaney, 23, in February. Timothy Johnson also faces a second-degree murder charge. He did not appear in court.

Investigators say Morales pulled the trigger. They say Rickey Rose was part of a drug deal that led to Sweaney’s death.

Investigators believe Paul Morales and Timothy Johnson showed up at Chandler Sweaney’s home in the 2800 block of West Chestnut Street to see Rickey Rose, who was a roommate Sweaney found through social media.

In a preliminary hearing Monday, the state called several witnesses, including those at the house and multiple law enforcement officers. One of Chandler’s roommates, named “Eric,” testified about the amount of traffic coming into the house once Rickey Rose moved into it. “Eric,” says he saw a car back into the driveway over a live video feed and heard multiple gunshots. He and another man visiting the house both admitted they were using drugs too.

The second man, named Dana, told the judge Morales tried to shoot him after coming out of Rose’s room, where Rose was shot in the leg. He says Chandler was on the couch just before the shooting.

The first officers on the scene testified they found Chandler without a pulse, on the living room floor. One officer did CPR until fire and EMS arrived. Investigators testified about finding bloody clothes in Rose’s room, a bullet on the bed, a scale with white powder on it, and a cell phone on the floor.

Detectives testified about messages on Morales’ phones, leading them to believe he was trying to buy drugs and a gun from Rose. The court also heard a recording of when a detective went to talk to Rose in the hospital, where he claimed he didn’t know who shot him.

Sweaney’s mother says she’s grateful the judge found there was enough evidence to go to trial. As the suspects walked into the courtroom, nearly 20 of Chandler’s family members and friends each held up his picture. Many were wearing “Do Better, Be Better” t-shirts, a slogan his family has used in his memory.

“To be honest with you, there was a lot of people not here, just because they’re still reeling,” says Shelley Larrick, Sweaney’s mother. “I mean, some of his best friends can’t even find themselves to make it to the courtroom, and I understand that. You know, as his mother, and his fathers, I don’t have a choice. I have to be there. We have to be there.”

The third murder suspect in the case, Timothy Johnson, will have his preliminary hearing October 22nd.

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