Defendant in fatal stomping case rejects plea bargain

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | 4:33 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD — A southwest Missouri man charged with stomping his grandmother to death has rejected a deal with prosecutors.

Public defenders for Joe Davidson Music, 34, of Willard, told a Greene County judge on Tuesday that their client was refusing a plea bargain that probably would have sent him to prison for roughly 11 years.

"He has selected to decline that offer," public defender Cristy Meadows said. "We do not see there being a possible outcome better than the current offer."

Music was charged in November 2004 with second-degree murder, second-degree elder abuse and two counts of armed criminal action.

Prosecutors said Music wore steel-toed boots while fatally stomping 72-year-old Frances Nadine Giehl. He's also accused of kicking and injuring his 89-year-old great-grandmother, Eva Aslinger.

During Tuesday's hearing, Meadows told Greene County Circuit Judge Tom Mountjoy that Music had seemed to be leaning toward accepting the plea bargain, but ultimately he declined.

"We believe there will be a guilty verdict at this point," Meadows said. "It looks like we're going to trial with a client who's unwilling or unable to assist us."

Music sat silent for most of the hearing. At one point he tried to address Mountjoy directly, but the judge cut him short, advising Music to make statements through his attorneys.

Music has been ruled competent to stand trial, which is scheduled for Feb. 17.

He is being held in the Missouri Department of Mental Health's Fulton State Hospital and has refused to cooperate with doctors his attorneys have sent to see him, Meadows said. He has also declined to help with his case, and wants the public defender's office taken off the matter.

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