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On Monday, Oct. 17, a Texas County Circuit Judge found Dan Andrews “not guilty by reason of insanity” in a double homicide.
The case originated in Douglas County but had been transferred to Texas County on a change of venue requested by the legal team of the defendant.
The case was initiated by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department upon a phone call to the dispatcher on March 16, 2009 stating that a killing had occurred in the Arno area.
The Sheriff and a deputy arrived thereafter and found the defendant at the marital home covered in blood along with a 3-foot long sword and a pocketknife. Also discovered in the home were the bodies of the defendant’s wife, Mary Burchell-Andrews and her infant son, Taylor Andrews, whose lifeless body was discovered in a playpen, according to Prosecuting Attorney Roger Wall.
It was later discovered that the victim was pregnant with an unborn child who did not survive the attack, Wall said.
The case was delayed for a lengthy period of time as the defendant was initially found to be legally incompetent to assist in his own defense.
In February 2010, the Court found that Andrews was now competent to proceed. The defendant then entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.”
The defendant’s legal team of Bevy Beimdiek and Bob Wolfrum of the Public Defender Capital Unit out of St. Louis, offered into evidence the report of a Dr. Kent Franks, dated in February 2011, stating that the defendant did not know or appreciate the nature and wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the incident due to a mental defect.
The state’s legal team consisting of Douglas County Prosecutor Wall and Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bock promptly requested a second mental evaluation to be performed by the Department of Mental Health at Fulton. The state offered its expert testimony in a report dated in May 2011 by Dr. Randy Telander, which reiterated that the defendant was not legally responsible due to a mental defect.
Judge Mary Sheffield concluded that Andrews was not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and committed the defendant to an indeterminate commitment by the Department of Mental Health as provided for in Chapter 552 of the Revised Missouri Statutes, Wall said.
In this type of case, before the defendant can ever be furloughed or released, notice must be granted and a hearing conducted by the committing court.
According to Wall, the whole ordeal, including the legal process, has taken a tremendous mental and physical toll on the victim’s father, Donald Phillips, and two surviving sisters, Crystal Lansdown and Amy Burchell.
Each of the crime victims was given an opportunity to confront the defendant in the courtroom on Monday and each made a statement to the court.
Crystal also read a poem to the court talking about the devastating loss of her sister and nephew, and unborn nephew.