Trial Delayed In Ex-Wife’s Alleged Pipe Bomb Murder Plot

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The Washington County woman accused in a pipe bomb plot to kill her ex-husband has had her trial delayed because of a proposed mental evaluation, officials said Monday.

Shirley Mugley was scheduled to begin her conspiracy to commit capital murder trial Tuesday. The trial is being delayed, though, while Mugley undergoes an evaluation to determine whether she is mentally fit to stand trial, said Denis Dean, deputy prosecuting attorney for Washington County.

Mental evaluations are common in capital murder and similar cases.

Mugley and the man charged with being her conspirator in the pipe-bomb plot, Andrew Cox, pleaded not guilty at their August arraignment, according to court records. Mugley is charged with felony conspiracy to commit capital murder, criminal possession of a destructive device and criminal use of prohibited weapons.

Cox is charged with felony criminal use of prohibited weapons and is set to appear Oct. 23 in Washington County Circuit Court.

The West Fork woman is accused of hatching a scheme to kill her ex-husband with a pipe bomb.

Mugley was booked into jail on $50,000 bond. Cox has been released on a $5,000 bond. He appeared at the arraignment in civilian clothes and left shortly after entering his not-guilty plea. As seen in the photo with this story, she appeared before the magistrate in orange jail clothing and returned to the lockup area after entering her not-guilty plea.

Washington County deputies said Cox told police he went with Mugley to buy materials to make the pipe bomb. Cox and Mugley made the bomb in the basement of Mugley’s house on the 14000 block of Highway 265 South, according to a preliminary arrest report.

Cox, 20, had a previous romantic relationship with Mugley, the report states.

Police said they obtained video of Mugley buying a cell phone that matches the phone that was attached to the pipe bomb, the report states. According to the report, police recorded a phone call between Cox and Mugley during which Mugley discussed the pipe bomb and the conspiracy to kill her husband.

The pipe bomb was found in April in the Illinois River in rural Washington County, according to the sheriff’s office. Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said Cox threw the pipe bomb in the river after he “chickened out.”


Helder said Mugley and her husband had a history of domestic disturbances.

Michael Mugley filed a protection order against his ex-wife Shirley Mugley in July, following her arrest on suspicion of conspiracy, criminal use of a prohibited and criminal possession of explosives. That order was extended Aug. 16 to five years in, according to the office of Judge Beth Storey Bryan.

Cox also had a protection order filed against him by Michael Mugley in July. That order was extended Aug. 16 to one year, according to court records..

In the original protection order, the judge finds Michael Mugley may be in “immediate and present danger of domestic abuse” if or when Shirley Mugley is released from jail.

The judge also signed an order last month ceasing Shirley Mugley’s visitation with her children pending further orders from Circuit Court. The couple was granted a divorce in Washington County in May, according to court records. They have three children under the age of 18 together, according to records.