5:57 PM
Robert Blurton

The man accused of killing three members of his family last summer waived his preliminary hearing this morning in Benton County and has been bound over for trial.

Prosecutors allege that Robert Blurton bound his aunt and uncle, Sharon and Donnie Luetjen, and their daughter Taron together in their Cole Camp home and then shot each one of them in the back of the head on June 7, 2009.

According to the probable cause statement, the last person to see Sharon and Taron Luetjen alive was a woman who had dropped her vehicle off late Sunday evening to be serviced by Donnie Luetjen.

It also indicates that at least part of the actual crime was captured on tape when someone called 9-1-1 from a cell phone inside the Leutjens home on Sunday June 7th. When the 9-1-1 operator called back, the phone went straight to voicemail.
From the redacted records:

"The telephone recording system at the Central Dispatch trapped the incoming telephone number prior to the call being terminated ... during the course of the investigation and examination ... it was determined that one of the male voices was directing Sharon Luetjen to sit down, put her arms behind her and at least two threats to shoot her and the other two victims."

Ten days after the murders, police interviewed an unidentified person, who listened to the audio recording of the 9-1-1 call.

"After hearing the recording the unidentified person was asked by Sheriff Fajen if (person) recognized the male voices. The (person) shook their head in an affirmative manner. Each time (the person) listed to the recording, (the person's) lower lip began quivering and (the person's) breathing rate increased," according to the police records. "(The person) was then instructed to listen to the recording at a lower speed. When (the person) listened to the recording ... (the person) removed the earphones and said ... it was Robbie."

Blurton was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in late June and initially fought extradition to Missouri. He eventually waived extradition and his attorney have filed numerous motions with the court questioning the validity of a state statute. Public defenders wanted lab tech's from the state crime lab available for the preliminary hearing---the state said it has their reports that they can enter into evidence.

Blurton's attorneys will probably ask for a change of venue, which will automatically be granted because Benton County has less than 75,000 residents. Benton County prosecutor Karen Woodley will make the determination if she will seek the death penalty after the case proceeds to the circuit level.

Blurton is scheduled to be formally arraigned in circuit court on April 20th at 1:30 p.m.