A change of judge was granted to a Willow Springs woman awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder.
Assigned to 37th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steve Privette Sept. 29, Sara Messex-Pullen requested a change of judge. Messex-Pullen will now have her case heard by 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge William Earl Hickle.
Messex-Pullen, 48, faces the second-degree murder charge after the May 6 stabbing death of Larry Randall Tucker, 36, also of Willow Springs. She was taken into custody May 8.
She is also charged with two counts of armed criminal action and one count of first-degree assault. She has been in the Howell County Jail on $500,000 bail since her arrest.
According to court records filed following an interview with Howell County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Torey Thompson, the incidents leading up to the assault began May 5 when Messex-Pullen went to a property on Z Highway to confront a woman about the theft of her wallet, which reportedly contained $1,000.
Messex-Pullen said she suspected the woman or Tucker and his wife of stealing it.
It was reportedly rumored Tucker had been seen with $200 cash on him and the next day Messex-Pullen returned to a shop building at the same location, arriving as a passenger in a vehicle with three other people, to question Tucker and his wife about the theft.
Messex-Pullen allegedly admitted to taking a spike attached to a string to use as a weapon in case of an altercation. An argument reportedly began between her and the Tuckers and she swung the spike at them, but someone took the weapon away from her. Messex-Pullen said she was pushed to the ground, injuring her knee.
Thompson reported Messex-Pullen told him she grabbed a knife, got back on her feet and stabbed Tucker in the chest once.
Messex-Pullen and Riley allegedly then got back into the vehicle they arrived in and left the scene. She reportedly returned to her home on AM Highway, changed clothes and put her blood-stained shorts into a washing machine. She said she then went with Riley to Dollar General in Willow Springs and bought cigarettes and eyeglasses to replace a pair broken during the fight.
Messex-Pullen said she was notified via text message Tucker had died from his wound. She said she and Riley then left her home on foot and walked through the woods to Cabool, where she hid in a camper trailer until her arrest.