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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Murder suspect seeks change of venue

Monday, March 26, 2012

(Photo)
During a hearing in Judge David Evans' chambers in Howell County Circuit Court in West Plains on March 15, defense attorneys for murder suspect Dennis Ray Woodward filed a change-of-venue motion.

The hearing is set for 2 p.m. April 2.

Woodward and girlfriend Elizabeth E. Gunter, both of Norwood, are accused of the Jan. 2 murder of Naturally Enchanted business owner Joy Dishneau of Caulfield.

Woodward's case is being prosecuted by Howell County assistant prosecutor Rizwan Ahad. He is defended by public defender Donna Anthony of West Plains.

Woodward pleaded not guilty March 5 to the four counts against him. -- first-degree murder, armed criminal action, robbery and theft of Dishneau's vehicle.

When they were arrested shortly after Dishneau's body was discovered in her rural Highway 160 home, Woodward and Gunter accused each other of stabbing Dishneau in the neck, although both admitted to going to Dishneau's home to rob her.

Gunter's preliminary hearing was continued March 5 to allow her time to resume taking psychiatric medication that was denied while she was in jail. Gunter's defense attorney, Steven Lynxwiler of Poplar Bluff, said at the hearing that Gunter was unable to assist in her defense while in an agitated mental condition. During the hearing, Gunter said she was unable to stand, and she cried throughout much of the hearing.

Gunter's preliminary hearing was set 9 a.m. March 21. Results were unavailable at press time.

Gunter and Woodward are in Howell County Jail on $2.5 million bond each.

If a change of venue is granted for Woodward, a trial date will be set for that county.



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