CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Federal prosecutors say an additional charge given to a Missouri man who killed his wife wasn’t prompted by a manuscript the inmate allegedly wrote in prison.
Documents filed in court this week show the charge in May 2016 instead was driven by Cape Girardeau officials’ dissatisfaction with the 20-year prison term James Clay Waller received as part of a plea deal in 2013, when he revealed where he buried his wife, Jacque Sue Waller, who’d been missing for two years.
Prosecutors wrote the interstate domestic violence charge was given to “protect the citizens from a dangerous, sociopathic and narcissistic murderer,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Waller’s lawyer, John Lynch, said last month that the discovery of the 182-page manuscript prompted prosecutors to try giving Waller more time for the same crime.
Lynch said that while the actual author was someone else and that the manuscript was “in bad taste (perhaps an understatement),” he said prosecution for it would be a violation of Waller’s free speech rights. Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Ferrell responded Monday saying that Waller was warned his guilty plea doesn’t prevent a federal charge or a charge in Illinois, where his wife’s body was found.
Ferrell’s response also included new details about the case as well as copies of the manuscript and Waller’s confessions to fellow inmates. He said he’s seeking to use that evidence against Waller.
In the manuscript, Waller said that his love for his children and his unwillingness to separate from them through divorce was what drove him to murder his wife. He alleges he strangled his wife at his home before burying her.
Ferrell said that it’s unclear how much of the manuscript’s content is true. He said Waller’s description of the murder in the manuscript, and in his 2013 guilty plea, contradict the autopsy.
Waller’s additional charge could lead to a life term and prevent him from profiting from any book.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com