|Eugene Crider at plea hearing|
Prosecutors say an argument over methamphetamine is what led to the 2012 murder of a man near Hootentown.
Lawyers for Euguene Crider announced that he would enter an Alford plea to charges of second degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence just as his trial was set to begin last week.
Carl Anderson was reported missing by his mother in late February after he failed to return home from a visit to Teri Dean-Morrison's home at 263 Akita Run.
Prosecutor Matt Selby said in a statement of facts at the plea hearing that Anderson kept in close contact with his mother because both were suffering from severe medical problems.
On February 23rd, Dean-Morrison called a friend over and showed her and Anderson a large amount of meth. After ingesting some of the drug, Dean-Morrison, Anderson and Janie Wanglie left the house and went to a restaurant in Nixa.
There they were joined by Cheryl Crawford, who was involved in a romantic relationship with Dean-Morrison. Wanglie told investigators the last time she saw Carl alive was when he and Dean-Morrison left the restaurant together.
Later that afternoon Crawford received a call from Dean-Morrison saying she needed a ride home from Carl's home near Highlandville. Crawford says on the way back to the Akita Run residence Dean-Morrsion became angry with Anderson after she discovered the methamphetamine she showed him earlier that day was missing.
Dean-Morrison believed Anderson placed the missing meth in a storage shed when they visited his mother's property earlier that day.
Anderson denied having the missing drugs and Crider, who lived in a camper trailer on Dean-Morrison's property, became involved in the altercation.
Crawford was told to leave the house as the fight was escalating. When she returned, the argument had turned physical and Anderson was being beaten in Dean-Morrison's living room by Crider.
|Teri Dean Morrison' house|
Lewallen helped the women open the shed and saw Teri grab what appeared to be an "eight ball" of methamphetamine from a shelf in the shed. Dean-Morrison was unsatisfied with the amount of meth she recovered and when she returned home began yelling at Anderson, who was lying injured on the living room floor, and demanded that he answer her questions. Selby says an argument over money may have boiled over as well.
Selby said that by this time Crider was holding an ax handle and he began beating Anderson with it.
Crawford, who was in another part of the house getting things ready to take Dean-Morrison's son to a basketball game, told Dean-Morrison it was time to go, but Dean-Morrison said she was staying. After the game Dean-Morrison met her lover and son at a Chinese restaurant in Ozark.
When Dean-Morrison arrived, she looked pale and sick, according to Selby. Dean-Morrison told Crawford they needed to pick up cleaning supplies on their way home.
After putting her son to bed, Dean-Morrison, Crawford and Crider went into Teri's bedroom. The door was broken, there was blood on the walls and ceiling and Anderson lay dead on the floor wrapped in a comforter.
Crider, Crawford and Dean-Morrison then loaded Anderson's body into the back of Crawford's van. The women then dumped Anderson's remains on the property of Earl Kearney, a former lover and employer of Dean-Morrison's.
Crider went to Wal-Mart in Ozark and purchased additional cleaning supplies and the trio spent most of the night cleaning the residence.
After Teri's son left for school on Friday February 25th, Crawford and Dean-Morrison returned to the property where Anderson's remains had been dumped and covered it with sticks, leaves and other debris and set them on fire.
After the fire was started, Crawford and Dean-Morrison went back to the house on Akita Run and continued making repairs.
Authorities began tracking cell phone activity on Anderson's phone and say cell phone tower pings showed the last call he made was in the vicinity of Dean-Morrison's home.
When authorities went to Dean-Morrison's house on Monday February 27th to investigate Anderson's disappearance they noted that a bedroom door, windows and carpet had been replaced.
When investigators asked Crider what he did on February 23rd he said he had spent the afternoon in Springfield with Melinda Juarez. When she was contacted, Juarez confirmed that she had been with Crider.
When cops looked in the back of Crider's truck that day they noted a gas can, hoe and shovel with ash on the blade of it.
On March 6th authorities obtained a search warrant for Dean-Morrison's property. Missouri State Highway Patrol Detective Dan Nash found small spots of what appeared to be blood on the ceiling, walls and a ceiling fan in Teri's bedroom. Attempts to cover blood spots with texturing were found throughout the room and a window and carpet in the room had recently been replaced.
Nash took swabs of the blood stains and sent them to the Missouri Highway Patrol Crime Lab for analysis.
When Stone County Detective Matt Maggard questioned Crider he denied having any knowledge of anyone buying cleaning supplies or cleaning up a crime scene. Maggard later found receipts dated about 1 a..m. February 24th, the night Anderson went missing, inside Crider's trailer that showed purchases for cleaning supplies, texturing, mini blinds, windows and carpet. They also found money wire receipts that Krystal Buras, a woman from Spring, Texas, had sent to Crider.
Stone County Detective Shawn Fields obtained store surveillance that showed Crider making the purchases.
On Monday March 9th Fields received confirmation from the crime lab that the blood samples taken from inside Dean-Morrison's residence belonged to Anderson. Armed with that information authorities went to Dean-Morrison's residence but Crider, Crawford and Dean-Morrison were gone---as were Crawford's mini van and Crider's pickup truck.
After learning that Dean-Morrison left her son with her father, authorities issued a be on the lookout bulletin for the trio.
Investigators were in the middle of obtaining additional evidence from Dean-Morrison's home when they learned the trio had been arrested in Osage Beach. The van was full of personal belongings and it appeared they planned to be gone for an extended period.
At that point the suspects were jailed on charges of tampering with physical evidence. An examination of Dean-Morrison's cell phone revealed that she had been in constant contact with Kearney that weekend.
Charges were upgraded to murder in mid March after authorities obtained a search warrant for Kearney's property and discovered Anderson's charred liver in a deep pond.
|Earl Kearney's property|
Melinda Juarez contacted authorities and told them she had lied about being with Crider. She said Crider told her he needed an alibi because he had broken parole by traveling to Oklahoma and did not want to get caught. She also said Crider told her he helped get rid of a body by burning it. He said what did burn was spread in piles of brush and what didn't, he tossed in a nearby body of water.
Detectives continued to search for Crider's missing truck and began monitoring his phone calls from the Stone County jail. Crider asked his girlfriend, Krystal Buras, to come to Missouri and remove items from the back of his truck and trailer.
When Buras came to visit Crider in the Stone County jail on March 31st she was questioned by detectives and admitted that she removed items from the back of Crider's vehicle. Authorities found a shovel, hoe, tools and personal items of Crider's inside Buras' vehicle.
Detectives later found Crider's truck parked at a Wal Mart in Springfield. The gas can was still in the back, according to Selby.
On May 23rd Crider could be sentenced to life in prison (30 years) for the murder conviction and up to 14 years on the tampering charges. Whatever he is sentenced to will be served concurrently (at the same time) due to a plea agreement.
Cheryl Crawford pleaded guilty last fall to charges of tampering with evidence. She was sentenced to eight years in prison.
|Krystal Nicole Buras (mug shot courtesy SCSO)|
Krystal Buras pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and was placed on two years probation.
Teri Dean-Morrison is scheduled to stand trial in May in Jasper County where her case was moved on a change of venue.