West Plains, Mo. — Defense attorneys for Dennis Ray Woodward, accused of the Jan. 2 murder of Joy Dishneau, owner of Naturally Enchanted, have filed a motion for a change of venue.
A change of venue hearing has been set for 2 p.m. April 2 in West Plains before 37th Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Evans.
If the change of venue is granted, a trial date will be set in the new county.
Thus far the prosecution has not yet made a decision whether or not to seek the death penalty for Woodward, according to assistant prosecuting attorney Rizwan Ahad.
Woodward was arraigned March 5, at which time he pled not guilty to the four counts against him.
Woodward — along with Elisabeth E. Gunter — is charged with 1st degree murder, 1st degree armed criminal action, 1st degree robbery and 1st degree tampering with a motor vehicle.
Since his arrest in January, Woodward has maintained that his accomplice Elisabeth Gunter carried out Dishneau’s murder and robbery. He told police that he went with Gunter to Dishneau’s home/business in Caulfield, Mo., when he found the back door was locked he returned to the truck and waited for Gunter .
Gunter on the other hand contends that Woodward kicked in the back door and she waited on the step while he killed Dishneau.
The two defendants’ charges and countercharges are detailed in the probable cause statement, which can be found by clicking HERE.
Gunter has not yet been arraigned, or had a preliminary hearing. During her first appearance in court defense attorney Steven Lynxwiler of Poplar Bluff asked for a continuance due to his client’s inability to cooperate with him to prepare a defense. This he contended was due to her agitated state due to having been denied medication.
Gunter’s preliminary hearing has since been scheduled for 9 a.m. March 21 in West Plains.
Both Gunter and Woodward are being held by Howell County on $2.5 million bond each.
— Caroll Lucas
©2012 Hill ’n Holler Review
For links to other Hill ’n Holler stories on Woodward, Gunter and the Joy Dishneau murder case, go HERE.