A man accused in the murder of a woman whose dismembered body was found near his rural Pettis County home will be tried in Clay County. Clay County Judge Larry Harman Friday sustained the request for a change of venue by Joseph Arbeiter of rural Pettis County.
On May 4, body parts were discovered by children near the mobile home of Arbeiter, 65. Further investigation revealed more body parts hidden about the property and the eventual identification of the victim as Mandy Black, 35, of Marshall, an aquaintance of Arbeiter's.
Pettis County Prosecutor Jeff Mittlehauser is seeking the death penalty in the case, noting that the murder was "outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture or depravity of mind."
Along with the charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Black case, Mittlehauser also alleges that Arbeiter committed murder in St. Louis in1963, and committed sexual assault in Pettis County on April 30. The latter crime is being tried separately, and will also be tried in Clay County.
Mittlehauser says a defendant does not need to show any reason for requesting a change of venue and that they have the absolute right to do so.