Coari waives hearing in Auxvasse murders

Ryan Christopher Coari of Mexico, Mo., accused of murdering an Auxvasse area man and his daughter last September, waived his preliminary hearing Friday afternoon in Callaway County Associate Circuit Court.

Ryan Christopher Coari of Mexico, Mo., accused of murdering an Auxvasse area man and his daughter last September, waived his preliminary hearing Friday afternoon in Callaway County Associate Circuit Court. Contributed photo

Ryan Christopher Coari of Mexico, Mo., accused of murdering an Auxvasse area man and his daughter last September, waived his preliminary hearing Friday afternoon in Callaway County Associate Circuit Court.

Coari appeared in court before Judge Carol England. With Coari was his court-appointed public defender Mary Jo Smith. She asked the court to waive the preliminary hearing in behalf of her client.

Wearing a goatee beard, Coari was in the courtroom for about two minutes amid tight security. The courtroom was locked down until after Coari left the courthouse.

Coari’s next court action will be on April 2 before Circuit Judge Gary M. Oxenhandler. At that time the judge will discuss a trial date with prosecution and defense attorneys.

Coari, 29, and his wife, Jacie Kollene Gagala Coari, 28, both pleaded not guilty at their separate arraignments on Oct. 28, 2011.

Coari faces two counts of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and second-degree arson. His wife Jacie also waived her preliminary hearing earlier. She is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

The bodies of Michael J. Wieberg and his daughter Amanda Wieberg were found in the rubble of his burned home after both were shot and killed during an armed robbery on Sept. 1, 2011.

Coari is accused of shooting both of them to death and then setting their home on fire while his wife waited for him at the vehicle they were using.

On March 12 Coari was sentenced to four years in prison on a previous conviction on felony charges of nonsupport where the amount owed was in excess of $5,000.

The conviction meant Coari went directly to state prison and no longer had to be kept in Callaway County Jail while awaiting a first-degree murder charge, which typically takes the court system at least two years before a jury trial is held.

Coari’s pregnant wife, Jacie, is still in Callaway County Jail.

After waiving her preliminary hearing on March 16, she is scheduled to appear in Callaway County Circuit Court before Judge Oxenhandler for a trial setting hearing on April 16.

She now is represented by a Columbia attorney instead of the county’s public defender.

After the murder, the Coari couple traveled to the hometown of Coari’s wife in Warren, Mich.

Coari and his wife had rented a U-Haul trailer in Thompson, Mo., which is near Mexico, Mo., to take their belongings to Michigan from his mother’s Mexico public housing project residence where they had been living.

A Michigan newspaper reported Coari drew suspicion from a U-Haul firm in Warren, Mich., when he attempted to rent a device that attaches to the rear of a vehicle to tow a car.

Coari objected to the cost of renting the device because he said he was already paying the U-Haul company 79 cents per mile for a 13-foot truck he had driven from Missouri to Michigan.

The Michigan U-Haul employee suspected something was not right because the per-mile price is quoted by U-Haul firms only for local truck rentals, not for a vehicle to be driven to another state.

The Michigan U-Haul employee checked Coari’s U-Haul vehicle identification number. Using a corporate computer, he entered the number, which revealed the vehicle was missing from Missouri and may be occupied by homicide suspects.

The U-Haul employee slipped away and called Warren, Mich., police, who arrived and arrested Coari and his wife for the theft of the U-Haul trailer.

Police contacted the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office about the homicide suspects.

Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane and a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer traveled to Michigan and interrogated both suspects.

According to Crane’s probable cause for arrest statement filed with Callaway County Circuit Court, Coari admitted during an interview that his wife dropped him off late at night near the Wieberg residence on Sept. 1. The statement also said Ryan Coari admitted shooting Wieberg and his daughter with a .40 caliber handgun and both were dead when he started a fire at the residence and later disposed of the weapon.

Crane’s sworn statement also reported that Jacie Coari admitted she transported her husband to a point down the road from the Wieberg residence. She said her husband had told her he intended to rob Michael Wieberg. She said sometime after returning home her husband told her he also killed the Wiebergs.

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