Pipe Bomb Death Plot Suspect Has Protection Order Extended

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The West Fork woman accused of hatching a scheme to kill her ex-husband with a pipe bomb has been ordered to stay away from the alleged target for the next five years.

Michael Mugley filed a protection order against his ex-wife Shirley Mugley last month, following her arrest on suspicion of conspiracy, criminal use of a prohibited and criminal possession of explosives. That order was extended Friday morning to five years in Washington County Circuit Court, according to the office of Judge Beth Storey Bryan.

The man Shirley Mugley allegedly conspired with in the pipe bomb plot, Andrew Cox, also had a protection order filed against him by Michael Mugley last month. That order was extended Friday to one year, according to Storey Bryan’s office.

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

Bryan 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.

Shirley Mugley remains in the Washington County Detention Center on $50,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for Aug. 19, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Cox, who faces a felony charge of criminal use of a prohibited weapon, told police he went with Shirley 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 said. He was released from the Washington County Detention Center on $5,000 bond late Friday afternoon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Police said they obtained video of Shirley Mugley buying a cell phone that matches the phone that was attached to the pipe bomb, the report said. The report said 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 and Mugley was displeased with the sheriff department’s handling of the situation.