Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Gainesville, Missouri

From the December 30, 2003 Jefferson City News Tribune:
A coroner's jury decided that a man was justified in shooting and killing a couple who threatened him at his home near Thornfield last month, and the Ozark County prosecutor said he will not file charges.

Merl Cantwell, 40, and his wife, Tammy, 32, of Isabella, were killed on Nov. 9 by Boyd Merriman. Investigators said the Cantwells had accused Merriman of shooting their dog.

The six jurors agreed unanimously that Merriman acted in self-defense.

Dr. Keith Norton, the pathologist who performed the autopsies, said Merl Cantwell's blood-alcohol concentration was almost twice the legal limit on the night that he died. Norton also said that the Cantwells had "lethal quantities" of the antidepressant Prozac in their bodies.

Jurors also listened to threatening messages that Merl Cantwell left on Merriman's answering machine. They deliberated a little more than an hour before returning their verdict.

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