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Appearing for initial arraignment before Circuit Court Judge Sandra Martinez, the man charged with the November 2017 murder of his son-in-law entered a plea of not guilty and filed a request for a change of judge on Friday.

Clinton Wheeler, 49, faces charges of murder in the first-degree, armed criminal action and assault in the first-degree.

Pleading not guilty, Wheeler’s attorney requested a change of judge, which was approved. Wheeler will next appear before Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn.

Wheeler’s charges stem from a Nov. 11 incident which resulted in the wounding of James Lowry and the death of Wheeler’s son-in-law, Christopher Goodman.

According to police reports, Wheeler and Goodman became engaged in a physical confrontation around 11:20 p.m. at a home they shared on Ellis Road outside Park Hills. Wheeler allegedly had a semi-automatic pistol in his back pocket in anticipation of the confrontation.

Lowry, who also lived at the home, joined the confrontation. Wheeler fired the handgun during the struggle and struck both Lowry and Goodman.

Lowry was taken to Mercy Hospital-Jefferson for a gunshot wound to the hand and Goodman was pronounced dead at the scene by St. Francois County Coroner Jim Coplin.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at


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