Preliminary Hearing Set In Two Marion County Murders

MARION, KS – Preliminary hearings have been set in two Marion County murder cases, one after a finding last week that the defendant was competent to stand trial.

Barbara Moore, 35, Conway Springs, is set for a preliminary hearing Aug. 11,  Marion County Attorney John Johnson said Monday, and hearings for Joseph W. Brigman, 21, Fort Riley, and Michael L. Keffeler, 27, Marietta Okla., have been set for Aug. 18.

Mrs. Moore is charged with the first-degree murder of her ex-husband, Virgil Schmidt, 44, Burns, who was shot at his home April 16 with a small-caliber handgun.

Her hearing had been delayed on a defense motion to determine the defendant’s competency.  She spent about two months at the State Security Hospital at Larned undergoing mental evaluations.

Thursday in a District Court hearing, she was ruled competent to stand trial and assist in her own defense.  She remains in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

The hearings for Brigman and Keffeler, two of four persons charged with the Aug. 29, 1977, murders of Dennis Armstrong, 31, and his wife, Evelyn, 28, Tampa, were continued for a month.  They had been scheduled for last week.

Brigman and Keffeler also had undergone evaluations and were ruled competent last June.  They remain in jail in lieu of bonds set at $100,000 for Brigman and $250,000 for Keffeler.

The bodies of the Tampa couple were found in the living room of their home almost a year ago by their children when the youngsters returned home from school.

Also charged are Terry Dwaine Allen, 33, Boulder, Colo., and his wife, Carol, 30.  The Allens, in custody in lieu of $75,000 bonds, are fighting extradition from Colorado.  An extradition hearing had been set for earlier this month, but was continued.  Johnson said he had not been informed of a new date.  The Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas.  Tuesday, July 25, 1978.  Page 36.  © Transcribed by Darren McMannis for Kansas Old News.