Judge to issue ruling in Waller case - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Judge to issue ruling in Waller case

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(Source: Southeast Missourian) (Source: Southeast Missourian)
(Source: Southeast Missourian) (Source: Southeast Missourian)
(Source: Southeast Missourian) (Source: Southeast Missourian)
James Waller (Source: Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office) James Waller (Source: Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office)
Matthew Marshall (Source: Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office) Matthew Marshall (Source: Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office)

Clay Waller was in court for his preliminary hearing on charges that he murdered his estranged wife Jacque Waller.

Waller appeared before Judge Gary A. Kamp wearing an orange jumpsuit and sandals. His hands and feet were shackled.

Waller is accused of killing Jacque, even though her body has never been found.

The charges were filed in April in a case that has drawn national attention.

A total of 18 witnesses were called in the six-and-a-half hours of the hearing.

The first witness to take the stand was the divorce attorney who the Waller's met with the afternoon that Jacque disappeared.

Jacque's sister Cheryl Brenneke and Jacque's boyfriend Richard Herbst took the stand as well.

Dr. Scott Gibbs was the fifth witness. Gibbs says he was allowing Clay Waller to live in his guest house on his property as Clay was having some financial problems.

Gibbs testified about the events of June 1, 2011, and also talked about how he went to clean the guest house later that week after Waller moved out and found what he believed to be blood spatter in the bathroom, and in other areas of the house.

He told the judge that his wife then noticed carpeting in hallway of the house was missing.

Gibbs said in the late 1980's he investigated hundreds of crime scenes, and learned what to look for in those situations.

He told the judge he followed pieces of carpeting throughout the house which led to the basement crawl space where he found the carpet and pad.

Several officers took the stand, including a Missouri Highway Patrol investigator who is on the Major Case Squad.

The officers described for the judge how there appeared to be a bicycle-like impression in the back seat of Jacque Waller's Honda Pilot, which was found on Interstate 55 on June 2, 2011.  A different officer later testified that a bicycle tire similar to the one Clay Waller owned was tested and perhaps could have formed the indentation.

The investigators questioned whether Clay Waller could have taken Jacque Waller's SUV to the interstate to leave it on the night of June 1, 2011 with the bicycle in the back seat. They alleged it was possible for Waller to remove the bicycle and make the short bike ride back to his house.

A Department of Corrections worker also took the stand about items he found along the southbound side of interstate 55 on November 1, 2011.

He stated that he found a camera down a ravine near the 105 mile marker, and a day later downloaded the SD card which revealed family pictures. One that stuck out to him was a photo of Clay Waller. The worker says he did not know Clay Waller, but had seen him on the news and immediately turned that evidence over to police.

Later police found Jacque's purse, driver's license, credit cards and other personal effects down that ravine.

Two of Clay Waller's ex-girlfriends testified in court as well.

One of them told the judge that Clay Waller had instructed her to file a false police report implicating the woman's ex-husband in the crime.

She said Clay told her to tell authorities that her ex-husband snapped Jacque's neck.

Meanwhile, outside the courthouse in Jackson, a fight between two men during a break in the proceedings.

The fight occurred between James "J.C." Waller, 20, the son of Clay Waller, and Matthew Marshall, 44, who used to work for Clay Waller.

According to Jackson City Attorney Tom Ludwig, both men face city peace disturbance and engaging in a fight charges. Those charges though, have not officially been filed.

On Monday, Prosecutors decided to drop other charges of harassment and theft against Clay Waller.

While prosecutors remain tight-lipped about the decision, a local law professor says that it's not uncommon for prosecutors to drop lesser charges to focus on more serious ones.

At the end of the day on Wednesday, the Judge Kamp did not make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to move to the next level.

Heartland News has learned the judge may release his decision by the first of next week.

Clay Waller is charged first degree murder and tampering with evidence, all in relation to the disappearance of his wife, Jacque Waller. She was 39 when she disappeared on June 1, 2011.

Her body had not yet been found. Investigators say more than 4,000 acres have been searched by land, water and air.

Clay Waller pleaded guilty last year to threatening Jacques' sister, Cheryl Brenneke over the Internet and is currently serving a five year sentence.

He was serving time in Louisiana, but is currently being held in the Cape Girardeau County Jail.

Attorneys from both sides objected to a video camera into court this morning.

Clay Waller is now being represented by Public Defender, Christopher Davis.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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