A Rhea County, Tennessee, man has been indicted in the death of 34-year-old Bradley County resident Amber Renee Monday, and he now appears to be fighting extradition to Tennessee to face a murder charge and another felony count in her death, officials said.
Guy William O'Connell, 44, is being held in the Douglas County, Kansas, jail on a fugitive-from-justice warrant stemming from his indictment last week on charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse by a Rhea County grand jury, according to prosecutors.
O'Connell has been held since Aug. 25, initially on a fugitive warrant linked to a vehicle theft in Bradley County in the same investigation of Monday's disappearance, but the more serious charges shift the case from the 10th Judicial District in Bradley to Rhea County in the 12th Judicial District.
O'Connell's arrest in Kansas came several days before a body later identified as that of the 34-year-old Monday was found in a shallow grave on Dayton Mountain in Rhea County, according to 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor.
Douglas County District Court Criminal Division clerk Michael Preut said Tuesday that O'Connell is represented by Ottawa, Kansas-attorney Joseph Allen Falls, who was appointed by the court to represent him in a Dec. 1 hearing.
When contacted Tuesday, Falls said he could not disclose whether he was representing O'Connell or not.
On Tuesday, Taylor said O'Connell, who initially waived extradition on a Bradley County theft charge, had since withdrawn that waiver on a return trip to court.
"We sent our paperwork on the first-degree murder charge and abuse of a corpse out there and we're proceeding with applying to Gov. [Bill] Lee's office for a rendition warrant to the governor of Kansas since it appears he [O'Connell] is not going to waive extradition on either charge," Taylor said of the most recent steps. If the paperwork is deemed proper in Tennessee, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly then will review the Tennessee rendition request to make sure it meets Kansas requirements, he said.
"If everything is OK as far as the paperwork, then normally the governor of Kansas would issue a governor's warrant against Mr. O'Connell and send it to Douglas County," Taylor said.
It's also possible O'Connell could contest the governor's warrant by seeking a habeas corpus hearing in a Douglas County court, according to Taylor.
A habeas corpus is a writ ordering a person in custody to be brought before a court. It places the burden of proof on those detaining the person to justify the detention.
If O'Connell doesn't prevail, "they will notify us to come get him," Taylor said.
The investigation started in Bradley County in August when Monday disappeared.
Monday left a home on Blue Springs Road on Aug. 14 with O'Connell in a black, four-door 2001 Toyota Tacoma, and the two were last known to be around Cherokee Boulevard and Stringer Street in the North Shore area of Chattanooga, Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Taylor Woodruff said in an earlier statement.
Bradley County issued a warrant for O'Connell's arrest related to the theft of a black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that was connected with Monday's disappearance after she was reported missing on Aug. 18, authorities said. Bradley's investigation of the truck theft allegations and the related fugitive warrant led authorities to O'Connell in Kansas.
Taylor said at the time that O'Connell was no stranger to Monday, and Bradley County authorities described him as Monday's "boyfriend."
O'Connell was staying with relatives in Lawrence, Kansas, when he was taken into custody Aug. 25, authorities said. Lawrence is a city of almost 100,000 about halfway between Topeka and Kansas City.
After Monday's body was found in Rhea County, a forensic autopsy led to a ruling on the manner of death as homicide. Taylor has said he can't comment on the cause of death while the investigation remains open.
"Potential evidentiary items" were found at the grave south of Laurel Brook Academy near the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau, Taylor said last month. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Rhea County sheriff's deputies and a team from the University of Tennessee Forensics Center recovered Monday's body.
Contact Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.
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