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Mental evaluations for first-degree murder cases in Greene Co. ensure fair trials

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Two Greene County men are charged with first-degree murder.

The charge is classified as premeditated by prosecutors.

Edward Gutting is accused of killing a former Missouri State University professor in 2016. Jesse Huy is accused of killing his wife and her parents in 2021. While both cases are different there is one common link.

“He’s entitled to a fair trial. The victim’s family is entitled to a fair trial. Everybody is,” said Dee Wampler.

The late defense lawyer was Gutting’s attorney.

In the process of updating his case a few months ago, we spoke to him about why requests for mental evaluations are often necessary.

“What was in his mind at the time? Did he really know what he was doing,” he said.

Gutting is accused of stabbing retired professor, Marc Cooper to death just over five years ago. Police records indicate that Gutting forced his way into Cooper’s home in the University Heights neighborhood in Springfield. Cooper’s wife was also injured during the attack.

Gutting was arrested shortly after the killing on August 17, 2016.

Jesse Huy’s case is completely separate but the same charge of first-degree murder.

He is accused of shooting his wife, Tonya Huy, and her parents, Ronald and Linda Koehler. The parents returned to Springfield to assist Tonya Huy after back surgery.

A dispatcher asked Huy why he did it. Investigators say Huy responded by saying, “Well they wouldn’t leave, I’ve been waiting for a week for them to leave. I’ve had enough.”

Huy then told the dispatcher he would not resist deputies when they arrested him.

According to legal experts, mental evaluations are often necessary to help the court decide how the cases will proceed.

Wampler said, “Can he assist the council in his own defense right now?”

Gutting has been deemed competent to stand trial. His pre-trial conference will happen in January.

Huy’s pre-trial conference will be held in December.

Judge Thomas Mountjoy is presiding over both cases.

Both men are jailed without bond.

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