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Murder charges filed in 2000 slaying

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Nathan Speaks arrested on two counts of first-degree murder

First degree murder charges were filed Oct. 25 against a St. Charles, Mo., man in connection with the death of a Mammoth Spring man in St. Charles more than six years ago.

Bill Hamilton of Mammoth Spring and his business partner, Roger Speaks, were shot execution style in Speaks' home in March of 2000.

The murders have remained unsolved and no charges were filed in the incident until last month.

Charged with two counts of first-degree murder is Nathan Speaks, 26, the son of Roger Speaks.

Hamilton and Roger Speaks had been in business for several years buying estates and selling the merchandise at local auctions.

"We traveled to St. Louis and surrounding suburbs of the city, like St. Charles and Granite City, to buy the estates," said Hamilton's wife, Michelle.

She said Roger Speaks would keep the better merchandise, antiques and high priced items in the city and her husband would bring the household items back to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas to sell at auctions.

"It was nothing for Bill to travel to St. Charles three or four times a week and return with merchandise that we sold at the Hardy Auction, Highland Auction and Cotham Auction at Mammoth Spring," Michelle said.

Michelle recounted the events leading up to her husband's death.

"He left for St. Charles March 14. We had seven children between us and our oldest daughter was becoming a teenager, and we made the decision that I should start staying at home more with the children. That's why Bill made this trip alone," she said.

Michelle said when she had not heard from her husband by Friday, after he had left on Tuesday, she knew something was wrong. "It was not like him not to call me or the children," she said.

She said she contacted Mammoth Spring Police Chief Michael Davis and Arkansas State Trooper Ronnie Stewart that weekend.

Michelle said by the end of the weekend she was frantic with worry.

"At 5:30 a.m. the next Monday morning officer Davis came to our home at Mammoth Spring and had me call my grandparents who lived at Thayer to come to my home. When they arrived he told me Bill had been shot in the head and was dead,"she said.

Hamilton was 56 at the time of his murder. Michelle said she and Bill had been together about six years and have a daughter together, Dakota, who is now 10.

St. Charles County sheriff's deputies arrested Nathan Speaks Oct. 25 at a grocery store in St. Charles where he worked as a meat cutter.

Michelle said the St. Charles Prosecutor's Office called her Oct. 26 to tell her the arrest had been made.

"I did not know Nathan Speaks, and I'm sure my husband did not know Nathan Speaks. We have long believed him to be a suspect in the murder of my husband and the murder of his father because of some money issues other family members had told us about," she said.

Michelle said a family member told her that Roger Speaks was rewriting his will at the time of the murders and was giving serious consideration to disinheriting his son.

Roger Speak's estate was valued at $1.4 million.

Nathan Speaks has also been charged with two counts of armed criminal action, burglary and tampering with a motor vehicle.

Both Hamilton and Speaks were shot once in the head at close range.

St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Jack Banas said the murder weapon and a safe which was in a hidden wall in the home and may have contained as much as $30,000 were never found.

Col. Allen Stahl with the St. Charles County Jail said Nathan Speaks' bond was set at $1 million.

Michelle Hamilton said she is glad an arrest has been made in the case of the murder of her husband.

"I just want people to know he was a good man who loved his children. We still think about him and miss him," she said.

Michelle said the arrest has not brought her or the children closure.

"There will be no closure for us until there is a conviction. All that has happened now is the arrest brought back a lot of memories, good memories of times with Bill and the memory of how I felt when I had to tell the children," she said.

Speaks is scheduled to appear in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in St. Charles County Nov. 8 for a counsel status hearing before Judge Nancy L. Schneider.

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