Mo. man pleads not guilty in neighbor’s death

KIRKSVILLE (AP) — A northeast Missouri man has pleaded not guilty to several charges connected to allegations that he killed a neighbor, dismembered the body and tossed the victim’s arms at bystanders.

Paul R. Potter, 49, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Adair County court to charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, second-degree arson and first-degree burglary charges.

Potter is accused of killing Willis Edward Meredith on Jan. 6 at a Kirksville apartment complex where the two men were neighbors. Prosecutors have accused Potter of stabbing Meredith, dismembering Meredith’s body and setting fires to conceal the crime. Police said in a probable cause statement that Potter threw the victim’s arms at bystanders shortly before he was taken into custody.

Potter appeared via video from the Adair County Jail with his attorney, Kevin Locke, on Tuesday. Locke told the court the defense would file a motion to have Potter committed to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, pending a decision by the court on Potter’s competency to stand trial.

Adair County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wilson and Locke did not immediately return calls Thursday seeking comment on whether Potter had been sent to the Department of Mental Health.

A court order prevents attorneys from discussing the case with the media.

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