Top 10 stories of 2011
Wed, 28 Dec 2011 18:45:24 GMT — 2011 was a big year for news in Mid-Missouri. The year started with a murder, a blizzard and ended with a high speed chase ending with a shootout at an area hotel. Mixed in were a plethora of stories from good to bad.These are the 10 stories most viewed on connectmidmissouri.com in 2011.1. The murder of a former Jefferson City Police Officer whose wife was charged with the murder.The early afternoon of Jan. 1, 2011 was hectic in Holts Summit. Paul Plunkett was found in his house with a gunshot wound an a weak pulse. He later died at a local hospital. His wife reported seeing a man dressed in camouflage walking in the street and carrying a gun. Police immediately said they were looking for a murder suspect. A few days later, Plunkett's wife Sandra was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Court documents showed she admitted to shooting her husband with a .22 caliber rifle.2. A boat accident in the middle of the night on the Osage River left two dead over the labor day weekend.Labor Day weekend was deadly on Missouri's waterways. Around 11:40 p.m. that Saturday, two boats were tied together and anchored in the Osage River. Witnesses said a third boat, traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into the two anchored boats. Two men were thrown overboard. Their bodies were found the next day.Curtis Libbert and Alvin Blackford both died in the crash. Christopher Winkler, of Jefferson City, was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of 2nd degree assault.3. Missouri S&T goes on lockdown after a shooter was reported on campusOn the morning of May 12, the Missouri University of Science and Technology locked down campus and reported that there was a shooter on campus. Later it was revealed that the shooter initially started at Fort Leonard Wood and a high speed chase ensued that ended near the Missouri S&T campus. The suspect, Cody Willcoxson, 31, shot at several police officers during the chase and was the subject of a manhunt after he got away from officers. He was arrested on County Road 6030 near Edgar Springs in Phelps County.Willcoxson was eventually charged with two counts of assault/attempted assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts of armed criminal action, unlawful use of a firemar and resisting arrest. He'll be in court again in January.4. A murder suspect entered a high speed chase with law enforcement that ended with a shootout between the suspect and police at an area hotel.On Dec. 10, police reported a shooting between a high speed chase suspect and police at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. The shootout was between a Cole County Sheriff's Deputy and a Jefferson City Police Officer and Marvin Rice. Rice was the suspect in a double homicide in Dent County.Authorities located his vehicle on Highway 63 and entered into a high speed chase that started in Osage County. It ended with the shootout at the hotel, where 570 employees of the Jefferson City Medical Group were celebrating the holidays at a company Christmas party. No one was injured except Rice, who was shot.He is charged with first degree murder and assault a law enforcement officer as well as armed criminal action. More charges could be filed against Rice.5. A body was found in an alley in California, Mo. One man was arrested.The body of Travis Dean Higgins, 31, of California was found the morning of April 7. He appeared to be the victim of a beating. Jon Shikles, 26, of California was arrested on 2nd degree murder charges. A jury trial has been scheduled for mid-2012.6. A rollover accident causes delays, no injuries, and a video of a lady screaming at troopers.The accident involved a persistent DUI offender, but the real story that came out of the accident was the video of a woman screaming at state troopers as they arrested her husband.Kenneth Teeter was arrested on suspicion of his sixth charge of driving while intoxicated. Teeter's wife berated authorities as they put the handcuffs on her husband. She later apologized in an on camera interview with KRCG.Here's the video. Warning: Video contains language that may not be suited for everyone. KRCG 7. Three-vehicle accident kills two near Jefferson CityThis three-vehicle accident killed two people near Jefferson City. Killed were Joan Hamilton, 75, of Lenexa, Kan. and Donald Edwards, 58, of Russelville.The accident happened on Route C near the South Country Club intersection on Aug. 31. Damien Bryan was charged with two counts of second degree murder and driving while intoxicated-aggravated offender. Bryan also faces a civil lawsuit for wrongful death in the case. 8. A Jefferson City woman is swept away in the Missouri RiverFriday, Aug. 26, around 1:30 a.m. Sara Giboney was with a group of people wading in the water around the Noren boat ramp. She was swept under water by the current. Her body was recovered 10 days later about 2.5 miles south of the Osage River.Her friends and family held a balloon launch in her honor.9. A baby in Linn drowns and his mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter.Police investigated the drowning death of two-month-old Cooper Sweet on March 9. His mother, Rachel Sweet, 28, was arrested that day on suspicion of child endangerment.Eventually, the Osage County Prosecutor's office charged her with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. She pleaded guilty to both crimes in July. She was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.10. A shooting death in Cole County ends in 2nd degree murder chargesOn Sept. 2, authorities were called to a house near Eugene on reports of a shooting. Caleb Crabtree, 28, of Eugene died in the shooting.Friends of Drew Puckett said it was self-defense, but a grand jury indicted Puckett on second degree murder charges on Dec. 20.Sheriff's deputies knew of ongoing tensions between Crabtree and Puckett's family prior to the shooting.