Charges dismissed in Missouri woman's 1988 killing

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Posted at 4:20 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 17:20:22-05

AURORA, Mo. — A prosecutor said Wednesday that he dropped a first-degree murder charge against a Missouri man in the 1988 killing of a 31-year-old woman.

A grand jury indicted Lawrence Timmons in 2019 in the killing of Cynthia Smith, who was last seen on July 28, 1988, leaving a bar in Mount Vernon, a city of about 5,000 people 145 miles (233 kilometers) south of Kansas City. Her body was found 10 days later in a cemetery near Pierce City, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Mount Vernon.

Timmons’ attorney, Adam Woody, said in a news release Wednesday that prosecutors had dropped the murder charge.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter confirmed the news, saying it was dismissed because witnesses had died and legal changes to requirements for first-degree murder charges would have made prosecuting the case more difficult, KOLR-TV reported.

The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled if new evidence is found, KYTV-TV reported.

Smith was last seen leaving Checkers bar in Mount Vernon with an unidentified man. She was reported missing by a babysitter after she didn't return home.

Authorities said Timmons was questioned but wasn't charged when Smith disappeared. The case was reopened after a private investigation firm discovered new information.

When he was indicted, Trotter was in Lawrence County Jail on unrelated charges. He is still there.

Trotter said Timmons will still be prosecuted on multiple counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and forgery.

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