Cole Co judge agrees to hear autopsy challenge

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Cole County judge agreed Monday to hear evidence challenging a former medical examiner’s autopsy findings that helped convict two Kirksville men of first-degree murder and send them to prison for life.

Circuit Judge Daniel Green scheduled a two-day hearing for late August in which to hear the evidence challenging the work of Jay Dix, a Boone County medical examiner who died in 2002.

One of the inmates, Jesse McKim, requested the hearing. His lawyers have sworn testimony from five other pathologists who say Dix ruled incorrectly that Wendy Wagnon, the woman McKim was convicted of killing, was strangled. Instead, they say Wendy Wagnon’s 1997 death was likely due to a methamphetamine overdose.

Among the five pathologists are two of Dix’s former colleagues at the University of Missouri, where Dix was chief of forensic pathology until his death.

The state Attorney General’s Office opposed McKim’s request for a new hearing, arguing that other appeals courts have already rejected his legal claims.

McKim filed the case in Cole County because he is imprisoned in a Jefferson City state prison. He was convicted along with James Peavler, who died in prison three years ago.

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