A preliminary hearing will begin Tuesday, during which prosecutors will lay out first-degree murder allegations against Joshua Knapp, Rhonda Jackson and James Myers in the March 2016 killing of Iolan Shawn Cook.
Knapp, Jackson and Myers each are accused of first-degree murder.
The preliminary hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in front of Magistrate Judge Tod Davis, and is scheduled to run through Wednesday.
Davis agreed earlier this year with Allen County Attorney Jerry Hathaway’s motion to consolidate the preliminary hearings, rather than have separate hearings for each of the three.
“I’ve been involved with cases involving multiple defendants, but never anything like this,” Hathaway told the Register last week.
“It’s been difficult coordinating calendars,” he continued. “I think we’re all ready to get this under way.”
After hearing evidence against the defendants, Davis will decide whether the trio should be bound over for trial.
JACKSON, 51, Knapp, 35, and Myers, 60, are three of the five defendants originally charged with first-degree murder in Cook’s killing. Two others accepted plea deals in exchange for lesser charges.
Iolan Amber Boeken, 25, pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to one count of second-degree murder. In exchange for the lesser charge, Boeken has agreed to testify against the other defendants.
Her sentencing has been put on hold until after she testifies..
Jessica Epting, 33, also had been charged with murder. She pleaded guilty in January to a pair of misdemeanor charges, interfering with law enforcement and obstruction of justice. She received a suspended jail sentence.
COOK, 33, was last seen by relatives March 13, 2016; they reported him missing four days later.
His disappearance sparked a 16-day, countywide manhunt before his body was discovered northwest of Iola along the Neosho River.
Boeken and Knapp were already in custody by the time Cook’s body was found. Both had been arrested on separate charges.
Murder charges were then filed against Jackson, Myers and Epting in late July.
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