The two men arrested for their alleged involvement in several assaults, robberies, and the murder of a Moberly woman the night of Easter Sunday this year both waived formal arraignment on Monday (April 8).
Christopher D. Lewis, Macon, had his arraignment hearing at 10:30 a.m., Monday morning. Jeffrey Nichols' hearing was at 1:30 p.m., Monday afternoon. He is also of Macon.
Per Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols, the hearings each lasted "less than 30 seconds," and both Lewis and J. Nichols, each represented by a public defender, waived formal arraignment.
"[When formal arraignment is waived,] the judge does not read the charges [at the hearing]," Sheriff Nichols said. "[Lewis and J. Nichols] accept[ed] the charges that have been [brought forth]. They're not saying they're guilty. They're just saying they accept the charges."
Currently, both Lewis and J. Nichols are only being charged with murder in the first degree, in the death of Carmelita Kaser, 92, of Moberly. More charges are pending, though, per Sheriff Nichols.
Sheriff Nichols told the MMI that there has been a request for a change of judge in the case. The state Supreme Court will receive said request, and will decide upon what action to take from there.
A preliminary hearing will be held after this, to "see if there is enough evidence on a felony case to send it to the circuit court level." A circuit court arraignment hearing can then be expected, then a council status hearing, to "make sure each [suspect] is [properly] represented."
"There could be numerous motion hearings [after that]," Sheriff Nichols said. "Eventually, it could go to trial, [which] could be before the judge or a jury of [Lewis' and J. Nichols'] peers, [per their right.]"
Nichols said he suspected that, with a case this "complex," it may not be satisfied a year and a half from now, even.
"You've just got so many crimes all together," said Sheriff Nichols. "The totality of it makes it complex."