UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF STORY:
The man accused of using a hatchet to kill a woman two years ago surprised court watchers again this morning by entering an Alford plea.
The second-degree murder and armed criminal action trial of Aaron Michael Letterman (a.) was set to begin yesterday, but at the last minute, he decided that working as his own attorney wasn't such a good idea. Attorney Stuart Huffman, whom Letterman had fired previously, came back on board as lead counsel Friday.
By entering the Alford Plea, Letterman does not admit guilt, but recognizes that the state has enough evidence to secure a conviction if the case went to trial.
Letterman was charged two years ago with the hatchet slaying of 44 year-old Tyla Rhodelander of Lebanon.
Letterman's uncle, Michael Humphrey, said the two met Rhodelander near a cemetery on E. Chestnut Expressway and asked her if she was looking for a place to stay.
All three of them ended up in a homeless camp not far from not far from the cemetery.Authorities say that Letterman and Rhodelander had spent some time alone in a tent, and that when his uncle told him he was going to have sex with the woman and followed her into the tent Letterman "lost it."
Humphrey told investigators that he was in a tent with Rhodelander when Letterman allegedly unzipped the tent and attacked the woman with a hatchet.
Humphrey was busted a few days later and led cops to the homeless camp where Rhodelanders body was discovered...still in her tent.
According to a detective, a few days after the murder Humphrey took Letterman's mother to the homeless camp and showed her Rhodelanders body, after she told them she didn't believe that her son had killed someone.
Letterman turned himself in to authorities on May 2, 2007 but refused to talk about the case saying one day he would have a lot to say, or would write a book.
UPDATE: It appears that Letterman will spend the rest of his life in prison for Rhodelander's murder. Today (09-04-09) he was sentened to two consecutive (one after the other) life sentences. Life in the state of Missiouri is considered 30 years in prison.