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Published: Friday, 1/1/2010

Woman charged in slaying of Ohioan found in truck


ST. LOUIS - The wife and stepmother of two men accused of torturing and killing a 20-year-old Ohio man was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the case.

Prosecutors said she admitted she told her husband how to suffocate the man.

Angela Harvey, 34, told investigators she was among those who held James William Boyd McNeely at gunpoint in the basement of her Laddonia, Mo., home on Dec. 17 and that she took part in beating him, investigators said in a probable cause statement.

She said she told her husband, 38-year-old Chester Harvey, Jr., that he should kill Mr. McNeely by suffocating him, then watched as he wrapped a black trash bag around the victim's face until he died, they said.

Prosecutors are seeking first-degree murder and other charges against Chester Harvey and his 19-year-old son, Chad Harvey.

The two were jailed on charges of kidnapping and abandonment of a corpse after Mr. McNeely's body was found in the trailer of Chester Harvey's tractor-trailer.

Three other men - Darrill Lynn, 45, of Farber, Jackie Moss, 44, and Robert Allen, 52, both of Vandalia, Mo. - are charged with kidnapping in the case.

Mr. Allen is in the Audrain County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Mr. Lynn and Mr. Moss are out of jail after posting bond, county sheriff's Capt. James Shrader said.

According to court records, Angela Harvey spoke to state highway patrol investigators Wednesday and her account of the killing closely matched those of her husband and stepson.

She said she, her husband, and Mr. Lynn decided to remove Mr. McNeely from her home Dec. 16 and to ensure "he couldn't come back and harm them."

Audrain County Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger declined to elaborate on the case, including whether Mr. McNeely posed a threat to the Harveys or what Angela Harvey may have meant by her remark.

Prosecutors also have not commented about a possible motive for the killing or said where in Ohio Mr. McNeely was from and how he knew the defendants.

Highway patrol investigators said Mr. Lynn, Mr. Moss, and Mr. Allen took Mr. McNeely to a home in Farber but that Chester and Chad Harvey brought Mr. McNeely back to Chester and Angela Harvey's home the next day, placed him on a basement mattress, and bound his hands and feet.

Angela Harvey said she kicked Mr. McNeely and pointed a loaded gun at him, saying, "Just give me one reason to shoot you," investigators reported she said.

According to probable cause statements, both father and son said that while Chester Harvey held the bag over Mr. McNeely's head, Chad Harvey and others strangled him with wire.

An autopsy confirmed Mr. McNeely died by asphyxia.

Angela Harvey said she later directed her husband and others to wrap the body in a tarp to minimize evidence.

The Harveys were being held in the Audrain County jail without bail.

Neither Captain Shrader nor Mr. Shellabarger would say whether anyone else would be charged in the case.

In a court filing last week, authorities said a tipster told investigators that Chester Harvey killed a man, later identified as Mr. McNeely, whom he picked up in his truck in California.

The tipster said Chester Harvey was keeping the man's body in his rig's trailer while he figured out how to dispose of it. The tip led investigators to the body.

Chester Harvey's attorney, public defender Justin Carver, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In addition to the charges pertaining to Mr. McNeely's slaying, Chester Harvey has been charged with one count of kidnapping after prosecutors say he held his wife and several children hostage, including a 9-year-old son who is on dialysis and in a wheelchair.

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