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Malissa Ancona, 46, of Leadwood, who had been charged in the 2017 murder of her husband, Frank Ancona, appeared before Judge Wendy Wexler-Horn on Friday morning and entered a plea of guilty to murder in the second degree.

Ancona had very little to say to the court, but told the judge that she had pulled the trigger and shot her husband on Feb. 9, 2017, and that her son, Paul Jinkerson, had only assisted in moving and disposing of Frank Ancona’s body as well as cleaning up the crime scene.

Ancona also pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution and abandonment of a corpse. She will serve life in prison and will be 74 when she is eligible for parole. She was also sentenced to the maximum of four years for each count of abandonment of a corpse and tempering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution to run concurrent with her life sentence.

The judge imposed Ancona’s sentence immediately and she will be transferred to the Missouri Department of Corrections where she will likely spend the remainder of her days.

Ancona had initially told authorities that her son, Paul Jinkerson, had shot and killed Frank while she had been asleep in another room. She had also admitted to cleaning up the crime scene in an attempt to conceal evidence in order to “protect” her son.

Ancona later wrote a letter to the courts stating that she wished to retract her initial statements and claimed that she suffered from mental illness and that she had been under the influence when she was initially interviewed ... so she was unable to recall the events of the murder clearly.

On Feb. 9, 2017, Frank Ancona was shot and killed inside his home and then placed in Jinkerson’s vehicle. The abandoned car - without the body inside - was first seen on a Mark Twain National Forest Service road on Feb. 9, but at the time Ancona had not yet been reported missing.

Later, when Ancona was reported missing, the forest service employee contacted authorities to tell them where the car was sitting.

Two days later Ancona’s body was found on the banks of Big River off Route C in the Belgrade area by a family on a day outing.

Jinkerson was charged with murder in the first degree, felony armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution, and abandonment of a corpse.

He is scheduled to appear before Judge Wendy Wexler-Horn again on May 6 at 9 a.m. for a trial.  

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at mmcfarland@dailyjournalonline.com.

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