Plunkett interview tapes focus of 1st day of trial

Holts Summit woman accused of murdering husband, claims self defense

The ongoing trial of Sandra Plunkett, the 40-year-old Holts Summit woman being charged with first-degree for the murder of her husband, continues today after jurors heard opening statements, testimonies and interview tapes Tuesday.

Follow the Fulton Sun on Twitter — @fultonsun — for live updates from Wednesday's hearing.

Her husband, Paul Plunkett, a former Jefferson City police officer, was murdered Jan. 1, 2011. Dr. Marianna Sandomirsky, a former coroner with the Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner’s Office, testified yesterday that the autopsy she performed on Paul Plunkett revealed he was shot on the right side of his head, above and slightly behind his ear.

The presiding judge in the case is Gary Oxenhandler. The jury consists of seven women and six men from Buchanan County in western Missouri.

In opening statements, the prosecution — led by Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson — claimed Plunkett had financial motivation to kill her husband. Justin Carver, public defender, argued battered spouse syndrome as the defense for Plunkett, who pleaded not guilty in June 2011, according to Missouri case.net.

Court convened Tuesday morning and dismissed about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday after interview tapes — from the day of Paul Plunkett’s death to days following — gave a brief look into Sandra Plunkett’s drug history and her alleged abuse from her husband.

Sgt. David Rice with the Missouri State Highway Patrol testified that he interviewed Plunkett on Jan. 1, 2011. The interview recording was played in court.

In the interview, Plunkett told Rice on New Year’s Day 2011 that the couple watched the annual Rose Parade and she left to visit a friend in Jefferson City to “just say hey” then buy cigarettes. While driving on her street to return home, Plunkett continued, she saw a man near her home wearing a stocking on his head and camouflage top and pants — information previously reported. He pointed a gun at a neighbor’s house, she said during the interview, then pointed the gun at her car.

Plunkett said during the interview that she called 911 from her car as she drove into her driveway. After seeing Paul Plunkett laying on a bloody pillow, she said she searched for a gun to use against the man wearing camouflage.

Later in the interviews, investigators provided conflicting information in her story.

The Fulton Sun reported on Jan. 6, 2011, that police alleged Plunkett confessed to the murder, but that information has not yet been discussed in court.

In the Jan. 1, 2011, interview, Plunkett said she had been in drug rehab before after an addiction to Vicodin, but was controlling the addiction with prescribed medication — one of those medications being Vicodin. She also said she and Paul Plunkett would smoke marijuana together.

When Rice asked Plunkett what should happen to whoever hurt her husband, she said on the day of his death: “I think they should go to jail. I think they should be killed themselves.”

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