SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Two women from Springfield who are accused of poisoning three family members with antifreeze chose to waive their rights to preliminary hearings on Tuesday morning. That means a judge sent the cases of Diane and Rachel Staudte to trial court without having to hear any testimony about the evidence against the women.
The Staudtes are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Mark Staudte and Shaun Staudte in 2012, and are charged with first-degree assault for injuries to Sarah Staudte last spring. Mark Staudte was the husband of Diane Staudte. Shaun, Sarah and Rachel Staudte are (or were) children of Mark and Diane.
The crux of the evidence against Diane and Rachel is already public through probable cause statements against them. Some additional evidence sometimes is revealed at preliminary hearings, and defense attorneys have opportunities to challenge some of that evidence at those hearings. A defense attorney doesn't have to say why a client chooses to waive the right to a preliminary hearing.