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Sanders trial on hold as high court mulls jury request

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | 6:40 p.m. CST; updated 11:31 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

COLUMBIA— The trial of a Columbia teenager charged in the drowning death of his mother was postponed Tuesday to allow time for the Missouri Supreme Court to decide on a motion to draw a jury from Adair County.

Daniel A. Sanders, 19, was indicted on Dec. 5 on charges of second-degree murder and evidence tampering in connection with the death of 53-year-old Helen Sanders.

On Aug. 14, Columbia police pulled over Sanders near Stadium Boulevard and Audubon Drive on suspicion of driving erratically. After searching the car, they found his mother's body wrapped in a blanket next to a shovel in the trunk, according to the probable cause statement.

A report on the autopsy performed on Helen Sanders indicated there was a significant amount of fluid in her lungs at the time of her death. She also had a broken sternum and broken ribs, according to previous Missourian reports.

Both Sanders’ attorney, Christopher Slusher, and assistant prosecutor Steven Berry agreed to file a continuance and request that the jury be selected from Adair County.

Slusher said there were many reasons for seeking a jury from outside Boone County, one of which was to get away from a primary area of media coverage. It also was necessary to draw from a bigger, more populated county such as Adair in order to build a pool similar to that which could be selected in Boone County.

Sanders' next trial-setting date depends on when the Missouri Supreme Court rules on the jury request.  


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