Canton man who reportedly shot wife in face in October 2023 pleads not guilty; case moved to Adair County

Adam Wolf 4

Deputy Abigail Lyon with the Lewis County Sheriff's Department puts handcuffs on Adam Wolf after his arraignment Thursday morning in Lewis County Circuit Court in Monticello, Mo. | David Adam

MONTICELLO, Mo. — The case for a Canton man charged with first-degree murder after he reportedly shot his wife as they fought in their home in October 2023 has been moved to another county.

Adam Wolf, 47, appeared with Clayton attorney Jeffrey Becker to be arraigned in Lewis County Circuit Court on Thursday morning by First Judicial Circuit Judge Rick Roberts. 

Wolf pled not guilty to the charges of:

  • Murder in the first degree, a Class A felony punishable by imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections for life;
  • Armed criminal action, an unclassified felony punishable for between five and 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections; and 
  • Unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated (weapon loaded), a Class E felony punishable for between one and four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or up to one year in the county jail.

Wolf originally was charged with murder in the second degree. However, Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Chelsea Fellinger re-filed the charges on May 10 against Wolf.

Judge Rick Roberts | David Adam

After the not-guilty plea was made, Roberts talked with Becker and Fellinger about the motion for a change of venue filed on April 26 by Scott Rosenblum, co-counsel with Becker. Fellinger said she had reached an agreement to move the case to Adair County, which Becker and Roberts agreed.

When Roberts asked if the case was ready for trial, Becker said he needed at least 30 more days. Roberts picked July 25 to set the trial date.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release that deputies were called to a disturbance at 405 Grant in Canton at 8:03 p.m. Oct. 22, 2023. Upon arrival, deputies and emergency medical services employees found April Wolf, the wife of Adam Wolf, with a severe gunshot wound. She was taken by ambulance to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill.

Adams County Coroner Scott Graham pronounced her dead at 12:44 a.m. Oct. 23.

Adam Wolf, called NECOMM, the 911 communications center, to report he had shot his wife, according to a probable cause statement filed by Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish.

“I accidentally shot (her),” he said.

When asked where she was shot, Adam Wolf replied, “In the mouth.” He later said, “She was coming at me. We were fightin.’”

Adam Wolf then identified the weapon as a .22-caliber pistol. He said he had placed the gun on the freezer in the kitchen. Deputy Toby Moss later recovered a Browning Buck Mark .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun from the top of the freezer. The firearm was empty, and the magazine was not present.

Deputies at the scene believed Adam Wolf was under the influence of alcohol.

This is the first first-degree murder case in Lewis County since August 2018, when Marcus Mays was charged with the death of 2-year-old Taylen Allen. 

The Herald-Whig reported that police said Mays told investigators that he was angry at the girl, who he was caring for, because she soiled her pants. He reportedly pushed her into a toilet and struck her on the buttocks with a belt and struck her in the head with the back of his hand numerous times, causing head injuries. The injury to her head ultimately caused the toddler’s death. She also had methamphetamine and marijuana in her system. Both drugs were found in Mays’ house where the abuse took place.

The case was eventually moved to Scotland County, where a jury found Mays guilty. Mays was sentenced to life in prison in October 2022.

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