Judge rejects murder appeal that targeted coroner

Jessie McKim's request for a new trial has been denied

A Cole County judge has rejected a Kirksville man's challenge of a 1999 murder conviction that targeted the scientific work of a respected former medical examiner.

Circuit Judge Daniel Green on Tuesday rejected Jessie McKim's request for a new trial in Wendy Wagnon's 1997 drug-related death.

McKim and his uncle, James Peavler, were each found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Peavler has since died.

The appeal relied on testimony from five pathologists who said former Boone County medical examiner Jay Dix wrongly ruled that Wagnon died from suffocation.

But the judge said that other trial evidence indicated that the two men also could have killed Wagnon with an intentional methamphetamine overdose.

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Convicted Kirksville killer gets new hearing