Woman In Pipe Bomb Murder Plot Fit For Trial, Court Finds

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A recently-released state mental evaluation states a Washington County woman was mentally fit when she allegedly schemed to kill her ex-husband with a pipe bomb.

Shirley Mugley’s conspiracy to commit capital murder trial has been delayed twice, while her attorney sought a mental illness defense while saying she was not mentally cognizant enough to defend herself in the case. A mental evaluation by Dr. Cara Hartfield at the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock states Mugley “did have the capacity to understand the proceedings against her and the capacity to assist in her own defense.”

The evaluation did find that Mugley suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder, stemming from major depression, suicide attempts and past sexual abuse, Hartfield said in the document.

The document was dated Jan. 31 by Hartfield, with the evaluation being delivered to Washington County Circuit Court on Feb. 5, according to court records.

Mugley, of West Fork, was arrested in July 2013 following a failed attempt to kill her ex-husband with a pipe bomb, with the help of Andrew Cox, 20, according to court records. She was later released on $50,000 bond, with Cox being released on $5,000 bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect’s trial was initially scheduled to begin Oct. 15, 2013, later being rescheduled to Dec. 19 of the same year, according to court records. Her trial is now scheduled for May 6 in Judge William Storey’s courtroom, along with Cox.

Mugley and the man charged with being her conspirator in the pipe-bomb plot 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.

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 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.”