Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 12, 2013

Murder charges filed

MT. VERNON — A relative of an elderly Bonnie woman found dead in her home more than a week ago has been returned to Jefferson County, and faces criminal charges related to the homicide.

Timothy S. Newell, 42, was arrested and taken into custody last Friday in Sweet Springs, Mo., by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. At the time, Newell was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle after taking a station wagon owned by the victim, 84-year-old Rita E. Newell.

Timothy Newell has now been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, Class X felonies. The charges allege the defendant stabbed Rita Newell in the neck with a knife and "struck her about her person, thereby causing the death of Rita Newell, a person 60 years of age or older, and her death resulted from exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty."

Another count alleges the same, except with the wording that "such acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to Rita Newell, a person of 60 years of age or older." Both of those charges have a sentence range of 20 years to life, due to aggravating factors of the victim's age and the severity of the beating.

Language in the remaining two counts is virtually the same as the first two counts. The sentence range on those charges is 20 to 60 years in prison.

Timothy Newell was extradited from Missouri on Wednesday and is being held in the Jefferson County Justice Center under $5 million bond. Judge Jo Beth Weber signed the bond information on Friday and Newell was to be served a warrant at the jail.

"He will be advised of the charges against him on Tuesday after the holiday during a video conference," said Jefferson County State's Attorney Doug Hoffman. "At that time, the court will discuss with him his right to counsel and an arraignment date will be scheduled."

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