Suspect in Sedalia Killing Faces Multiple Charges
SEDALIA - Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond revealed new details Tuesday about the investigation into the murder and dismemberment of a Marshall woman.
Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelauser said a Grand Jury indicted Joseph Arbeiter, of Pettis County, on first degree murder for the killing of 35-year-old Mandy Black Tuesday morning.
Arbeiter already faced sexual assault charges and was being held in the Pettis County jail when the jury reached its decision.
Sheriff Bond said deputies found the dismembered body of Black May 4, several weeks after authorities arrested Arbeiter for sexually assaulting a neighbor. Bond said Arbeiter's landlord went to his trailer at the Goodwill Chapel Trailer Park to begin cleaning when Bond said it was then the landlord smelled a foul odor coming from a storage container near the trailer. Bond said she called the Sheriff's Department after she found what she believed was a human hand. When deputies arrived, they found two arms in the storage container, as well as additional portions of a body in shallow graves a short distance away.
Mittelauser explained Arbeiter faces two separate indictments. The first indictment charges stem from Arbeiter's arrest April 30 for sexually assaulting a neighbor. Mittelauser said the four sexual assault charges from this instance are serious enough to result in a life sentence on its own.
Mittellauser explained the second indictment charges resulted from Tuesday's Grand Jury decision. Mittelauser said Arbeiter now faces first degree murder and armed criminal action charges in connection with Ms. Blacks' death, in addition to the sexual assault charges.
"Our heart and our prayers go out to Mandy's family as they deal with this tragic event in their lives, as well as the loss of a loved one," Bond said.
Pettis County Coroner Robert "Skip" Smith said almost a complete body has been recovered during the investigation, and the body parts all belong to the same victim. Smith said the autopsy revealed Black died from multiple stab wounds to the chest sometime in late 2013 or early 2014. Sheriff Bond said the investigation also revealed the body was intact following the death, but was later dismembered in an attempt to conceal the crime.
"The biggest challenge was just significant decomposition and just the condition of the remains," Smith said.
Bond said he does not believe Arbeiter and Black knew each other. He said Black had been visiting Sedalia, but was not a resident. Bond said authorities do not know why Black was at Arbeieter's residence before she died or what motive he may have had to kill her.
The sheriff said the department believes Arbieter acted alone in the killing. He said the department plans to reach out to other areas Arbeieter lived to determine if law enforcement agencies have unsolved instances that could be related to Arbeiter.
Bond said multiple agencies have already put in hundreds of hours in the case.
Arbeiter was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning, but did not, following the new indictment.
A public defender listed himself as Arbieter's lawyer for the sexual assault charges. Mittalauder said he expects the same public defender to stay on the case, but it is uncertain.
Arbeieter is scheduled to appear in court May 19.