Updated May 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM CST: A Jasper County man is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the double murder of a Carthage couple.
In March, Darren Winans pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder, burglary and armed criminal action.
Today Winans was sentenced to two life sentences in the October 2008 stabbing deaths of Bob and Ellen Sheldon. Winans and another co-defendant Matthew Laurin had broken into the Sheldon's Carthage home to rob the couple.
Authorities connected both men to the crime from a gun, stolen from the couple's gun shop before the murders.
Laurin plead guilty last July and killed himself in jail two days later.
With the death of his co-defendant, Winans is the only person with knowledge of the crime, still alive.
Updated February 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM CST: Darren Winans, 23, plead guilty today in court for the deaths of Bob and Ellen Sheldon.
His guilty plea on two counts of second degree murder ends a case where all of the witnesses are now dead.
Winans co-defendant, Matthew Laurin, plead guilty last July and two days later, killed himself in jail.
The other two witnesses, Winans' girlfriend and her mom, have also died. One of from a drug overdose and the other had no cause of death listed.
Bob and Ellen Sheldon were found stabbed to death inside their Carthage home in October 2008.
Winans and Laurin broke into the Sheldon's home to rob the couple.
Authorities had tied the men to the Sheldon's murder from a gun, stolen from the couple's gun shop before the murders.
Winans will be sentenced in May.
Updated February 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM CST: Darren Winans has pled guilty to 2nd degree murder in the deaths of Bob and Ellen Sheldon of Carthage, Missouri.
Winans is the sole defendant in the case after co-defendant Matthew Laurin committed suicide last summer.
Winans sentencing is scheduled for May 4 at 9:00 a.m.
Updated August 23, 2010 - 5:25 PM CST: Only one defendant is left alive in the double murder of a Carthage, Missouri couple two years ago.
On Monday, Darren Winans was in court, his attorneys asking for Jasper County records of his co-defendant, Matthew Laurin.
Laurin's death in the Jasper County jail in late July was ruled a suicide.
Now Winans' defense wants access to Laurin's suicide notes, incoming and outgoing mail, psychological records and autopsy report.
The judge was expected to take the motion under advisement and rule at a later date.
Updated August 6, 2010 - 1:15 PM CST
An autopsy confirms an inmate who was found hanging inside his Jasper County jail cell died of asphyxiation.
Matthew Laurin hanged himself last Wednesday, just two days after he changed his not guilty plea to guilty in the murders of Bob and Ellen Sheldon of Carthage.
Another man, Darrin Winans, remains in jail also accused in their deaths.
He maintains his not guilty plea.
Updated July 28, 2010 - 6:10PM CST
Matthew Laurin plead guilty to two counts of first degree murder on Monday. He was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Robert and Ellen Sheldon, a Carthage, Missouri couple stabbed to death in their home nearly two years ago.
Authorities now tell us Laurin hanged himself in his jail cell on Wednesday.
Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn was scheduled to hold a news conference at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Updated July 26, 2010 - 5:35 PM CST
One of two men charged with the double murder of a Carthage, Missouri couple admits he did it.
Charged with two counts of first degree murder and facing the death penalty, Matthew Laurin plead guilty on Monday.
Laurin admitted to his part in killing Robert and Ellen Sheldon.
The Sheldon's were found stabbed to death in their rural Carthage home in October 2008.
Laurin and another man, Darren Winans, were accused of breaking into the Sheldon's home.
Officials say the two men planned to rob the couple.
Laurin was sentenced to life in prison for each count of murder.
In addition to that, he received a 20 year sentence for each count of armed criminal action and 15 more years for burglary.
All the sentences will run at the same time.
Winans is scheduled to be back in court next month.
Updated July 26, 2010 - 5:00 PM CST
Matthew Laurin has admitted he killed Robert and Eldon Sheldon in October 2008.
Laurin had been charged with two counts of first degree murder, with prosecutors seeking the death penalty.
On Monday Laurin changed his plea and was sentenced to life in prison on each count of murder.
Bob and Ellen Sheldon were found stabbed to death in their home in October 2008.
Prosecutors say two men broke into the Sheldon's home, planning to rob the couple.
Another man, Darren Winans, is still awaiting trial.
Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn said the attack on the couple was brutal and personal.
Updated Feb 8, 2010 - 12:30 PM CST
JASPER COUNTY, KAN. - A trial date is set for one of the men accused of killing a Carthage, Missouri couple.
Darren Winans now has new attorneys and a trial date.
Winans and another man, Matthew Laurin, are both charged with two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Bob and Ellen Sheldon.
The Sheldon's were found stabbed to death inside their rural Carthage home in October 2008. That is where police say Laurin and Winans went to rob the couple's gun shop.
Prosecutors have announced they are seeking the death penalty in this case.
Winans trial is set for January 2011.
Updated Jan 20, 2010 - 12:10 PM CST
A Four State prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against two men accused of stabbing a Carthage couple to death.
Jasper County, Missouri prosecutor Dean Dankelson wants the death penalty for Darren Winans, 22, and Matthew Laurin, 20.
Both men are each charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and a single count of first degree burglary.
Winans and Laurin each claim the other stabbed Robert and Ellen Sheldon to death in their home on October 11, 2008.
The prosecutor says the suspects killed the Sheldon's while trying to steal guns and knives to trade for drugs.
The Sheldon's operated a gun store next to their home.
In his notice to seek the death penalty Dankelson argues that the murder was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, or depravity of mind.
Both Winans and Laurin return to court on Monday for hearings.
Updated Dec 22, 2009
Separate trials are underway for Matthew Lauren and Darren Winans, who are murder suspects accused of killing a Carthage, Missouri couple.
Both men are charged with the murders of Robert and Ellen Sheldon who were found stabbed to death in their home near Carthage last October.
On Monday a Jasper County judge decided to separate the cases against Lauren and Winans, who have both plead not guilty.
Jurors for the case will be brought in from outside the county.
The dates for the two trials have not been set.
Updated Nov 30, 2009
Zachary Townsend, 24, received a suspended two-year sentence for his role in stealing a gun from the Old Cabin Shop in Carthage, Missouri. He was placed on five years probation.
Police say Townsend and Darren Winans stole a gun from Bob and Ellen Sheldon's gun shop a month before the couple was murdered.
Authorities have said it was that robbery that gave Winans and another man the idea to rob the store again.
Bob and Ellen Sheldon were found stabbed to death in their home adjacent to the store in October 2008.
Winans and Matthew Laurin are charged with the couple's murder. Both have plead not guilty in the case.
Updated Oct 26, 2009
Matthew Laurin and Darren Winans were arraigned in Jasper County court on Friday, September 11.
Both plead not guilty and defense attorneys for both defendants are arguing that the cases were improperly joined, when they should be separate.
A judge heard arguments for those motions on October 5, 2009 but did not make an immediate decision.
On October 26 the judge ordered a jury to be brought in from an outside county to hear the case. The attorneys for the defendants continued to argue for a separation of the case, but the judge ruled the case would remain as one at least until trial.
Updated August 10, 2009
Zachary Townsend, of Golden City, Missouri, pled guilty on August 10, 2009 to stealing a rifle from Robert and Ellen Sheldon the month before they were killed.
Townsend and Darren Winans, were both accused of taking the weapon in September 2008.
Police say it was then that Winans decided the Sheldon's were an easy target and he and another man went back to rob the couple in October 2008.
That's when police say the couple was murdered.
The couple was found stabbed to death in their home.
Winans and another man, Matthew Laurin, await trial on the murder charges.
Updated July 8, 2009
What started out as a burglary in October 2008, turned into the murder of Carthage couple Robert and Ellen Sheldon.
In a news conference held July 8, 2009 Sheriff Archie Dunn announced that Matthew Laurin of Springfield, Missouri and Darren Winans of Jasper, Missouri have been arrested for the murders.
Sheriff Dunn says the murder weapon was a knife.
Authorities say in September 2008, Darren Winans and another man - Zachary Townsend - stole a gun from the Old Cabin Shop, owned by the Sheldon's.
A report was filed and Townsend was arrested.
Then on July 1, Winans was also arrested and charged with stealing the gun.
Sheriff Dunn says two anonymous tips with the same story helped lead to the arrests.
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