Man charged with capital murder to have pre-trial hearing

Martin Priest's jury trial was set for October 3. (Miller County Sheriff's Office)

A pre-trial conference and a motion to inspect evidence hearing were scheduled for Tuesday morning ahead of Martin Priest's jury trial.

Priest had been charged with capital murder in the case of a missing Eldon girl. Priest was granted a change of venue from Miller County to Laclede County.

Court records showed Priest was the live-in boyfriend of Tammy Rothganger's mother in 1984. Investigators said Rothganger, a high school sophomore at Eldon High School at the time, disappeared after apparently getting into a vehicle with Priest and another man before school. Rothganger had not been seen since and her body was never found.

Prior to his arraignment in the Rothganger case, 60-year-old Priest had been serving a life sentence in Kansas for a separate murder charge.

Investigators and community members had questioned whether Priest was a possible serial killer.

Before Rothganger's disappearance, Priest had a second-degree murder conviction overturned after spending three years in prison. In that instance, he had been accused in the death of another woman, Tonya Lewis.

Preist's trial was scheduled to begin October 3.

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