10:53 AM

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.


OnlyFlowers said...

I hope that you do respond whomever you may be. Aaron Letterman is a good man no matter what anyone says. I will believe that with my heart and soul. He's saved my life countless times. Information that never entered the courts was that he was schizophrenic and not on medication. And there was other drugs involved with that night. There is also information that Mike never gave up...there is still evidence that was never logged. And while when you do commit a crime under the influence of drugs, or if you have a mental psychosis you are still accountable for your actions. He not insane or frightening in the least. I know this is old news to most of Missouri, but it's still fresh in my heart. Being close enough that you can smell mace on your best friend is never a good thing. Knowing that a party responsible in this horrible crime got buddy buddy with the victims family hurts even more. I morn for them! They lost a daughter, but Ms. Letterman also lost a son. All do to actions that were never reported. I am currently going to school and working on a law degree because of this man. Because he wanted to see me make something of myself long before this ever happened. And I will. Everyone in this world is capable of murder, and everyone in this world is capable of accidental murder. Yes he killed this woman, but it was under false thinking. Actually a news paper clipping I keep in my wallet (it was the first time I had heard about it in the paper) 'Mom, I killed Mikey' was the first thing this man said. He believed he killed his uncle who was raping this woman. A phone call, recorded. There is proof. Never entered into court mind you. He fully believed he had killed a man who was capable of rape. Why I am telling some random person this I do not know. I guess it's only because there are people setting in our prisons that can be 'rehabilitated' and released back into society because they are not 'bad' people. While we have meth dealers down the street we have innocents and screw ups, wrong place wrong time, people who can go into a mental institution be given a handful of red and blue pills for a year and be fine! Thank you for listening to this rant, even if it doesn't get posted. I care not. But thank you regardless.

OnlyFlowers said...

Please respond...I care not if you post it. But just a few facts that never went into the headlines or even court. And theses are facts that have sturdy evidence.
-Letterman is schizophrenic and was no on medication, that night there was alcohol and drugs involved.
-Humphry had previous violent convictions.
-There was a phone call made after the murder to his mother. "Mom, I killed Mikey" He had believed he had killed his uncle.
-There was never a rape test issued for the victim, yet rape was insinuated.
-And Humphry was in the tent with the victim. Not Letterman. When Letterman supposedly 'lost it'.

Thoes are facts...this is the truth I know.
-Aaron is a good man who has saved my life more than once. Actually got hit by a car for me!
-Since his previous sex charge, he avoids sexual acts. IE. Celabicy.
-He would do ANYTHING for his family and friends. Especially if he thought they were in danger.
-He has driven me to live my dream as being a psychologist and a lawyer.
-And sadly because I have children, and he wishes me not to have his Goddaughter in a prison I am unable to ever visit my best friend.
Aaron Letterman, may have his faults, and yes he did murder that poor woman. But it was a 'mistake move' if you can ever call murder a mistake. There were facts and evidence that never entered court. And sadly, a good man suffers. I just want this to be a future lesson for people. An eye opener of sorts. Not everything is at it appears in life. Face value is all our society takes anymore. And justice is deeper than that. Than you for taking the time to read and maybe post this. A reply would be nice though...input is always lovely.

Kathee Baird said...

I know you love your friend, but by his own admission he says he is responsible for the death of Ms. Rhodelander.

No evidence was admitted in court because Aaron entered an Alford plea(admitting that the state had enough evidence to secure a conviction.)

You say a good man suffers.....what about the family of the victim who had a severe mental disease? I'm sick of people committing heinous crimes who then claim a mental disease or defect made them do it. In my opinion, that defense is misused too often so when those that it was clearly designed for use it, we always question the validity of the claim.

There is a man from Ava (Dan Andrews--there are stories in my blog about him)that killed his family and clearly suffers from mental instability that should utilize the not guilty be mental disease or defect defense.

I hope you continue to pursue your dream and wish you luck!

OnlyFlowers said...

I'll agree, mental illness isn't an excuse but it is curable. And all behavior is learned, conditioning anyone is possible. And when a person who isn't naturally violent is put long term into a violent society their behavior will change. A good percentage of people in prisons could be reintegrated back into society.

I myself would plead no contest as well. In a murder case that has at a weapon and a body. And all fingers point in your direction. Give up while your ahead, why fight...especially when you don't have to deal with the pressure of society if imprisoned.

Ms. I have to ask you, did you know him personally? You're a reporter. I was a friend wouldn't you be saying the same thing if you were in my shoes and knew that person to the extent of their being?

And thank you by the way, I will continue and achieve my goals. Hehe...my captgha is 'fookin'

Anonymous said...

I'm the cousin of the woman that was killed by Letterman. I'm just glad that he's in prison for the rest of his life. At least he won't be able to kill any1 else.
Knowing that he in prison is a good feeling to me.

Thomas Pickens said...

I knew Aaron Letterman, and he was a sick pervert who had no social or mental boundaries. He deserves to be fried, not just imprisoned. I would kill him myself if the state would let me.
Oh, and Kitty, its a losing battle. How did his family lose him? Now they can go and visit with him any time they want to. At least he has a stable living environment now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Thomas, I don't know you, but I am one of Aaron's family members. No Aaron did not have the best life and he did a terrible thing, but for you to hate him so much that you would kill him if you were able makes you no better. It is not for you to decide whether one should live or die. Let him deal with the consequences of what he did and if you hate him so much be glad you don't have to see him. To the cousin of the woman killed, I am terribly sorry for your loss and I am glad you find some comfort in the punishment, and thank you for not taring him apart on here. Everyone has their judgments, but a life was taken and judgement was made like him or not please respect the families involved because it wasn't their fault.