It's a plot worthy of a soap opera: A Missouri jail nurse was charged with the murder of her husband in what police said was a bid to be with her inmate boyfriend, whom she met while he was incarcerated for killing an elderly lottery winner.
Amy Murray, 40, was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of her husband, Joshua Murray, whose body was discovered inside their burning Iberia home in December, the Miller County Sheriff’s office said.
Emergency responders answering a 911 call of a house fire found Joshua’s body inside the master bedroom on Dec. 11, 2018. Investigators quickly determined an accelerant was used to start the fire, making it the work of arson.
An autopsy showed Joshua was dead before the fire started and found he had been poisoned with antifreeze.
Police said Amy told them she had taken her 11-year-old son and their dogs to a McDonald’s, and when they arrived at home, they found their house on fire, a probable cause statement obtained by ABC News said. Amy allegedly said the smoke was too thick to make it inside the home.
But authorities said they found a McDonald’s sandwich on the kitchen counter inside the house.
Investigators also said they learned that Amy was allegedly in an intimate relationship with an inmate at a correctional center in Jefferson City, where she worked as a nurse. Amy allegedly wanted to marry the inmate, Eugene Claypool, who had been behind bars since 2000 for killing a disabled 72-year-old man.
The victim, Donald Hardwick, had made headlines for winning a $1.7 million lottery prize in 1998. Claypool and another man broke into his home Christmas Day 2000 in search of cash they believed he stored in his home.
After Hardwick, who relied on a walker, woke and found the men in his home, the other man restrained him while Claypool stabbed him to death.
“A Bible was left on the victim's chest. When his wife, Edna, got up on Christmas morning she noticed a broken kitchen window. She went to tell her husband, who slept in a separate room, but found him dead,” a news report at the time said.
After pleading guilty to second-degree murder, Claypool was sentenced to life in prison, but would become eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
But Claypool and Amy allegedly discussed hiring an attorney to try for an earlier release, according to the probable cause statement. That discussion was allegedly one of many that took place over jail phones that were recorded, authorities said.
Police said the pair talked of being married and in one conversation, Amy said they could be wed because her husband was dead and “out of the picture,” KMIZ-TV reported.
Amy was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She remains in custody at the Miller County Adult Detention Center on $750,000. She is scheduled for a bond reduction hearing Feb. 13.
She and her husband had been married since 2003 and had one son together.