2 arrested in connection with 2008 double stabbing deaths

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | 7:41 p.m. CDT

CARTHAGE — Two southwest Missouri men have been charged in the 2008 stabbing deaths of a Jasper County sheriff's reserve officer and his wife in their rural Carthage home.

Matthew D. Laurin, 21, of Springfield, and Darren J. Winans, 19, of Jasper, were being held without bond after their arrests Monday in the Oct. 11 deaths of Robert Sheldon, 70, and his wife, Ellen Sheldon, 71. Laurin and Winans are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of burglary.

Neither man had a lawyer, according to court records.

The victims' son found the couple's bodies after they didn't show up at church. The couple's dog was also killed.

A probable cause affidavit said the victims were stabbed multiple times, and detectives said it was a horrific murder scene.

At the time, Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn — whose department Robert Sheldon had served for 25 years as a reserve officer — described the crime scene as showing elements of "hatred" toward the victims. He later clarified that he did not think it was a hate crime.

Investigators told Joplin's KOAM-TV that they received two anonymous tips that led them to Springfield. A warrant allowed them to search Laurin's vehicle for evidence.

Authorities say Laurin admitted involvement in the murders and implicated Winans.

The Sheldons operated a gun and archery business known as the Old Cabin Shop on their property. The shop's building had been used as the county's first courthouse in 1841.


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