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Waller fit to stand trial in new case

A Cape Girardeau County man sentenced in state court to 20 years in prison for murdering his wife has been found competent by a federal judge to stand trial for a newer charge that came down this past year.

During a hearing held on Tuesday, James “Clay” Waller II, 46, was deemed mentally competent to stand trial by Federal Judge Abbie Crites-Leoni, who has been overseeing the case.

Waller’s lawyer, John M. Lynch, with the Law Offices of John M. Lynch. LLC, filed a motion on Aug. 17 for a mental evaluation of Waller. The two psychiatric reports were received and filed with the court on Dec. 6.

Waller was charged with federal domestic violence this past May 19. The charge also seeks to block any profits from a manuscript he wrote about the murder of his wife, Jacque Rawson Waller.

The new federal indictment says that Waller traveled between Illinois and Missouri with the intent to kill his wife, and then did.

It also seeks the forfeiture of any proceeds from “a contract relating to a depiction of such crime in a movie, book, newspaper, magazine, radio or television production, or live entertainment.”

The indictment against Waller said that FBI agents obtained a copy of a manuscript titled, “’If You Take My Kids, I’ll Kill You!’: The Public Confession of Missouri’s Most Notorious Wife Killers” on March 8. It was not clear why the title references the plural “killers.”

If convicted, he could face a life term on the new charge and it wasn’t immediately clear how agents obtained the manuscript or whether a book deal had been made.

Waller and Jacque Waller, 39, were in the middle of a divorce and were the parents of 5-year-old triplets. She disappeared the night of June 1, 2011 shortly after the two met with a divorce attorney.

At the time, she was planning to start a new life for herself and the couple’s triplets with a new boyfriend in Farmington. Since then, the triplets have been adopted by Jacque Waller’s sister and brother-in-law.

As federal, state and local investigators worked on the case, James Waller was first charged with threatening his sister. A prosecutor said Waller had confessed to his father about the murder, but his father then died.

In April of 2012, Waller was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence, even though his wife’s body had not been found.

Her remains were found the next month in Alexander County, in Southern Illinois, after Waller was offered a plea agreement and led them to the body.

Waller is now serving a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty in June 2013 of second-degree murder.

Clay Waller sits down with his attorneys after entering the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse to plead guilty to a murder charge in 2013. Seated behind him are family members of Jacque Rawson Waller.

Clay Waller sits down with his attorneys after entering the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse to plead guilty to a murder charge in 2013. Seated behind him are family members of Jacque Rawson Waller.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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