Judge appoints new interim Moniteau prosecutor after appointee resigns

A judge on Thursday named Cole County assistant prosecutor Derek Spencer as interim Moniteau County prosecutor (KRCG 13)

For the second time in a little more than a week, Moniteau County has a new prosecutor.

Judge Kenneth Hayden on Thursday appointed Derek Spencer to succeed interim prosecutor Ann Perry, who resigned Wednesday to focus on her private practice. Hayden's decision pulled Spencer from his duties as an assistant prosecutor in Cole County, a position he has held for the past two years.

"Moniteau County can feel safe to know that there's a prosecutor who's stepping into this office that knows how to prosecute cases," Spencer told KRCG 13 Thursday afternoon.

Spencer is the second person appointed to replace Shayne Healea. Healea, who was accused of backing his truck into a window at Addison's restaurant in downtown Columbia and injuring four people in October 2014, entered a guilty plea on Sept. 4 to three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of DWI. As part of his plea bargain, Healea removed his name from the Moniteau County re-election ballot. He then resigned from his office that day. Judge Hayden selected Perry to fill the office the next day. After Perry resigned this week, Spencer said Hayden swore him in around 11 a.m. Thursday.

Spencer said he met with Moniteau County Sheriff Tony Wheatley after being sworn in. He said the meeting went well and he thinks he and Wheatley will have a good working relationship. Spencer said he's handled cases ranging from traffic offenses and DWI to assault and manslaughter cases.

"I've handled just about every type of case there is in the prosecutor's office and I've taken a lot of cases to trial," he said.

Spencer will serve until voters elect a new prosecutor in November. Healea was running unopposed for a third term when he withdrew from the race. The chair of the Moniteau County Democratic Party said his party chose not to nominate a candidate and the county clerk said she had not yet received a Republican nominee as of Thursday afternoon.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from new interim prosecutor Derek Spencer.

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