One defendant pleads not guilty and another defendant will be arraigned related to death of Taurean Snoddy

Taureen Snoddy Case Suspects

Howard Rickey and Chad Elliot appeared in court Tuesday morning

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Two defendants related to Taurean Snoddy’s death were in court on Tuesday morning.

Chad Elliot, who is charged with second-degree and first-degree assault, was arraigned in the Marion County Courthouse and pleaded not guilty.

Howard Rickey, who faces charges of first-degree assault and resisting arrest for a felony will proceed to an arraignment on May 25 at 10 a.m. in the Marion County Courthouse. 

Braden Chestnutt, 19, Chad Elliott, 20, Dakota Laster, 23 and Damien McCulley, 25, all of Hannibal, were charged Jan. 28 with charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. 

Chestnutt was granted a change of venue, moving his case to Pike County. McCulley was also granted a change of venue, moving his case to Ralls County. Hearing dates are pending on both defendants.

Laster was released on bond earlier this month and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 22 at 9 a.m. in the Marion County Courthouse.

It was determined by Judge David Mobley at Rickey’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday morning at the Marion County Courthouse that there is probable cause to proceed with an arraignment on his charges.

Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Bryant represented the state of Missouri and Attorney Fredrich J. Cruse represented Rickey.

Bryant called Dakota Laster as the first witness.

Laster testified that Rickey allegedly alerted him and the other defendants that Snoddy was behind the home on Church Street, which he reported to be McCulley’s grandmother’s home, “causing problems.” 

Snoddy was allegedly accused of assaulting his girlfriend, Melissa Rickey which is what triggered the argument.

Howard Rickey and Snoddy were already arguing when Laster arrived at a home on Church Street in McCulley’s truck with Chestnutt, McCulley, and Elliot. 

Laster testified a few punches were thrown with no contact made. He alleged Snoddy was the first to throw a punch. Snoddy allegedly walked away with Rickey following in his truck.

Laster alleged that Snoddy said something to Rickey but he didn’t know what. He also said he overheard Rickey say he was going to kill Snoddy.

“Howard said I will kill that n-word,” Laster told the court, admitting that Rickey used the full word he was referring to.

Laster testified Rickey said he was going to run over Snoddy with his truck and drive toward him several times, but he did not see Rickey attempt to hit Snoddy with his truck.

During cross-examination Snoddy told Cruse the last time they saw Rickey, he went down the alley on Church street to a yellow house and Rickey was not involved after that. 

Laster also testified that Snoddy had sustained no injuries when Rickey left the area. 

Sgt. Matt Wilt, an investigator from the Hannibal Police Department, was the second witness called by Bryant to testify.

According to Wilt’s testimony, tire tracks that were matched to Rickey’s went through the lot where the argument continued. Wilt said tire marks ran off the side curb, stopped, backed up and went through the field.

Wilt noted that the driver’s door had damage that appeared to be caused by a fist.

Wilt testified Rickey’s truck was later discovered by Central Park with a syringe in it.

Rickey allegedly confirmed the truck was his and that he was sitting outside of Chestnutt’s grandmother’s house before his argument with Snoddy with a syringe loaded with meth, trying to decide whether to use it or not.

At that time, Rickey told Wilt that his ex-wife Melissa Rickey’s new boyfriend came up to fight him.

During cross-examination, Wilt confirmed these facts with Cruse:

Rickey never stated to Wilt that he struck Snoddy with his truck.

Rickey told Wilt Snoddy swung first.

Rickey last saw Snoddy in an alley fighting with other subjects.

Cruse also asked Wilt if the markings on Rickey’s truck appeared to strike a person, and Wilt said no, they did not. Wilt said other than the fist imprint on the door, nothing appeared to be unusual.

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