Two Missouri women, a mother and her daughter, were charged with first-degree murder earlier this month when police say the two confessed to poisoning two relatives with antifreeze and trying to kill a third.
Authorities say Diane Staudte and her 22-year-old daughter Rachel were arrested and charged earlier this week with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of armed criminal action and one count of first-degree assault. The women were thrown in jail without bond according to the Greene County prosecutor's office.
One of the victims of the women's poisoning was Diane's husband and Rachel's father, Mark. His death happened back in April of last year. At the time, Diane told investigators that her husband had not been feeling well and had suffered from seizures, a condition which was blamed for his death. The other person killed by the women include Diane's own 26-year-old son, Shawn. He died in September of 2012 with flu-like symptoms.
Immediately following the deaths of the two men, the local medical examiner said that nothing suspicious was to blame for their demise. In the husband's case the ME said that he died of natural causes while the son's death was blamed on prior medical issues. The case would have remained closed but for an anonymous tip which prompted officers to reexamine the deaths earlier this month.
According to authorities the tip came just in time as the woman's 24-year-old daughter Sarah had just been hospitalized with undetermined medical problems. Nurses told police investigators that though the 24-year-old's condition was dire, her mother rarely if ever visited. Nurses also said that the woman's behavior while at the hospital was bizarre, joking inappropriately with staff members about her daughter's poor health and discussing an upcoming vacation.
After police gathered enough information they questioned the mother, Diane, who admitted during interrogation to poisoning her family by putting antifreeze in their soda and Gatorade for several days. The mother said she decided to kill her husband because she hated him and that her son was a terrible pest. She then decided to kill her daughter because she was not working and had mounting student loan debt that needed to be paid. Initially the mother said she was the only one involved in the gruesome plot, but later the 22-year-old daughter admitted to helping plan and research the crimes.
The seriousness of the women's crimes goes without saying. In Missouri, first-degree murder is as serious as it gets. Missouri Revised Statutes Section 565.020 says that murder in the first degree is a Class A felony. This means that the two women face the most severe penalties available if convicted, the punishment in Missouri is either death or imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
If you've had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a Missouri criminal defense lawyer capable of aggressively protecting your interests, contact our St. Louis criminal defense law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: "2 Mo. women charged in antifreeze poisoning deaths," by Heather Hollingsworth, published at NBCNews.com.
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