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Columbia Missourian

UPDATE: Judge denies prosecution's final motion before Johnny Wright trial begins

By Anne Christnovich
January 20, 2011 | 5:34 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The prosecutor aiming to prove Johnny Wright killed Becky Doisy and hid her body in August 1976 will not be allowed to use as evidence reports that linked him to a missing shovel and hoe, Judge Gary Oxenhandler ruled Thursday.

Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard Hicks argued in a pretrial meeting Wednesday that he should be allowed to present evidence at trial suggesting that Wright broke into his then-girlfriend's house and took the tools so he could use them to conceal Doisy's body.

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Cleveland Tyson, who is Wright's attorney, and Hicks argued for about 45 minutes. Hicks said he recently interviewed Wright's ex-girlfriend and she remembered seeing his tools at her house two weeks to a month before Doisy went missing. She noticed the items were gone soon after Doisy was last seen, Hicks said.

Tyson said there never was any proof Wright had anything to do with the missing tools or the burglary.

After both sides argued their points via teleconference, Oxenhandler asked Hicks for a complete list of the missing tools before ending the pretrial meeting to think over his decision. His ruling, and all others related to the case, are posted on Missouri Case.net.

Wright is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty. Jury selection for Wright's trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday. His trial is set to start the next day.