Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice was notified Friday by associate Circuit Judge Corey K. Herron that the second-degree murder case against Kevin Dell Mooney will move forward.
Mooney, 31, is one of two men charged with murder and felony assault in the death of Tomarken Smith, a Northwest Missouri State University student who was assaulted outside a Maryville bar and dance hall in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 14.
Smith was allegedly attacked by Mooney and Tony M. Overlin, 23, following an incident that occurred around 1 a.m. inside the bar. Witnesses have said that two men punched Smith, causing him to fall and strike his head on the pavement.
Mooney appeared last week for a preliminary hearing in the associate division of Circuit Court. Such hearings are required in order for a judge to find probable cause that a felony has been committed, and that there is reason to believe the suspect was involved.
"Prelims" are usually routine and end with a judge "binding" the case over to Circuit Court, known as Division 1, where felony cases are tried.
Mooney's lawyers, however, argued last week that Rice's application of the "merger doctrine" as part of a justification for the murder charge, rather than a lesser charge of manslaughter, was unjustified.
The merger doctrine is a point of common law that can be used to broaden the crime of manslaughter into murder if the offender kills accidentally or without specific intent while committing another felony.
At the close of last week's hearing, due to the number and complexity of various legal precedents involved, Herron said he would take the matter under advisement before issuing a ruling.
Rice said Friday he has been notified that Herron has certified the case against Mooney on both counts, and that the suspect is scheduled for arraignment in Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7.
Overlin 23, is scheduled to appear before a judge in the associate division on Monday, Dec. 17.