Murder Plot Suspect Says She Meant To Kill Herself At Child’s Grave

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The psychologist who declared West Fork pipe bomb murder plot suspect Shirley Mugley mentally fit has released the mental evaluation to the court. The documentation states Mugley claims she tried to kill herself with the pipe bomb, not her ex-husband.

The mental evaluation, carried out by Dr. Cara Hartfield of the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock, states Mugley suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder, but still had forethought and understanding of the crime before and while it was allegedly being committed.

During the evaluation, Mugley told Hartfield she built a pipe bomb to kill herself and never meant to harm her ex-husband, court documents state. She tried to kill herself with the bomb at the grave of her three-week-old child, the evaluation states.

“The bomb was only ever to kill myself. I knew where and when. I was hoping it would be such a mess that they wouldn’t have to see me,” Mugley told the psychologist in the evaluation. “Usually I would go up to the cemetery where my baby is buried. It would be on my way home. I put the bomb under my seat in the truck. I would call the phone and nothing.”

After the bomb did not detonate, Mugley said she got tired of trying and told co-defendant Andrew Cox to take it apart and get rid of it.

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

She is set to appear July 14 at a trial before Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay on a charge of conspiracy to commit capital murder, officials said. She is also charged with possession of a destructive device and possession of a prohibited weapon, records show.

Cox also is set to appear in court July 14, but likely won’t go to trial until after Mugley’s case is resolved, officials said.

Mugley and the man charged with being her conspirator in the pipe-bomb plot pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in August 2013, according to court records.

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.”

While out of jail and awaiting trial, Mugley was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and later on suspicion of driving on a suspended license and having no proof of insurance, court records show. Her license had been suspended after she was arrested in Washington County in the DWI case. Her most recent arrest happened May 21, police said.

Lindsay issued a motion shortly afterward revoking Mugley’s bond. She remained Wednesday in the Washington County Detention Center on $50,835 bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to her July 14 court date concerning the alleged pipe bomb murder plot, Mugley also has a court date scheduled for June 30 in Springdale District Court, according to the Sheriff’s Office.


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