CARTHAGE — A Jasper County judge has removed himself from hearing the murder trial of two men accused of killing a rural Carthage couple.
Judge David Mouton filed an order Wednesday recusing himself from the case because he knew the victims, Robert and Ellen Sheldon, and their family. Mouton lives in Carthage.
The trial of Matthew D. Laurins of Springfield and Darren Winans of Jasper was assigned to Judge Gayle Crane of Joplin.
Laurins and Winans are charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of burglary. They have pleaded not guilty.
The Sheldons were found stabbed at their rural Carthage home on Oct. 12, 2008. They operated a gun and archery business known as the Old Cabin Shop on their property.