Skip to content

Trial rescheduled for man accused of robbing motel

FARMINGTON – The trial for a man suspected of robbing the Super 8 Motel in Farmington a little over a year ago has been reset.

Walter O’Neal’s trial had originally been scheduled to start June 28 but the prosecutor’s office requested a continuance.

The trial has been reset for Jan. 24-26.

O’Neal, 50, of St. Louis has been charged with first-degree robbery, tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and two counts of second-degree murder.

Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn has said O’Neal was charged with two counts of second-degree murder because two people died as a result of his immediate flight from the location the crime was committed. She said he can be charged with murder even though he was not the driver who collided with the victims’ vehicle.

According to police reports, O’Neal entered the Super 8 Motel near Maple Valley at about 4:30 p.m. May 12, 2004, and demanded money. A call from a motel worker to police dispatchers revealed the man displayed a small handgun, possibly a .38-caliber revolver.

Within less than a minute, an officer spotted the van in the Maple Valley area. The license plate was called in and it was discovered the van was reported stolen from the St. Louis area. O’Neal spotted the approaching officer and began to speed away traveling south on Maple Valley Drive.

Patrolman Lindell Barton pursued the vehicle down Maple Valley Drive. Following Barton in the pursuit was Corporal Byron Ratliff. Both officers had activated their lights and sirens.

Highway patrol reports indicate 26-year-old Monica Clark-Heit was driving a 1997 Oldsmobile Achieva south on Maple Valley Drive when the pursuit passed. She apparently pulled to the right side of the roadway to let the van and first pursuing officer pass.

From what investigators could tell, Clark-Heit pulled back across Maple Valley Drive and began to turn left onto Hazel Street just northeast of Pang Apartments. She reportedly pulled into the path of Ratliff’s police car.

The impact of the police car with Clark-Heit’s car pushed both vehicles south on Maple Valley Drive and off the left side of the roadway into the driveway entrance of the Pang apartment complex.

Clark-Heit’s car overturned, ejecting Moutray and 5-year-old Rodney Clark. The driver’s grandmother, Janice Moutray, 67, of Farmington, was crushed beneath the car and later pronounced dead at the scene. Clark-Heit was partially ejected out the rear window of the car. She was declared dead a short time later.

Clark-Heit’s two children also received serious injuries.

Ratliff suffered minor injuries – contusions and abrasions from the impact and deployment of air bags in the patrol car.

At about the same time the fatal accident occurred, the suspect crashed into shrubbery near Dr. Fitz’s office. The suspect was not injured and he was taken into custody.

A Missouri Department of Corrections spokesperson said O’Neal served two years in prison for stealing in Jackson County and two years for escaping confinement in Webster County. He was discharged from parole in 1983.

Leave a Comment