Appearing before Associate Circuit Judge Joseph Goff Jr. via closed-circuit television Tuesday morning, accused murder suspects Malissa Ancona and Paul Jinkerson, Jr. each entered pleas of not guilty during their formal arraignment hearing.
During a formal arraignment, the judge reads each charge for the record and allows the defendant to enter a plea.
Both Ancona and Jinkerson have been charged with the class A felony of murder in the first degree for the premeditated killing of Frank Ancona Sr. on Feb. 9, acting alone or in concert with each other.
They are also each charged with the unclassified felony of armed criminal action for committing the murder with and through the use of a firearm, the class E felony of tampering with physical evidence for attempting to conceal blood evidence and the class E felony of abandonment of a corpse for knowingly disposing of the corpse of Frank Ancona.
While Jinkerson’s attorney Eric Barnhart was not present for the hearing, Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Zipfel sat in for Malissa Ancona’s attorney, Public Defender Wayne Williams.
In lieu of his attorney being present, Judge Goff entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of Jinkerson.
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Both defendants were ordered to appear on March 16 at 1:30 p.m. for setting of a preliminary hearing.
According to a probable cause statement, the homicide occurred on Feb. 9 at the Ancona home, located at 1124 Mill St. in Leadwood. Frank Ancona was shot and killed inside the Ancona’s bedroom.
Investigators believe he was shot first with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, followed by a shot from a 12-gauge shotgun. His body was then placed in Jinkerson's vehicle and taken, along with his car, to Washington County and dumped. His car was found in the Mark Twain National Forest on a service road. His body was found in the Belgrade area near Big River off Route C.
A search warrant was served at the Ancona home on Feb. 11, which revealed extensive blood evidence in the master bedroom as well as on the sidewalk outside of the residence.
An autopsy conducted Feb. 12 confirmed Frank Ancona died as result of a gunshot wound to the head.