Guide Rock murder trial coming to Hastings

RED CLOUD — Trials for the Guide Rock mother and son accused of murder now will take place in Adams County.

A representative from the Webster County District Court office said Judge Stephen Illingworth granted a change of venue motion during a pretrial hearing Tuesday. The trial order and dates for Shelley Casterline, 41, and Andrew Casterline, 23, have not been established yet, but a subsequent hearing date is set for March 24.

Both Casterlines face charges of first-degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and burglary.

Court fillings from Feb. 14 on Shelley's behalf state the request the change of venue is because the Webster County Courthouse does not have adequate facilities to accommodate jurors, witnesses and counsel in a first-degree murder trial expected to last seven to 10 days and the Adams County Courthouse does have adequate facilities.

Both counties are in the 10th Judicial District.

With a population of more than 30,000 in Adams County, compared to around 4,000 in Webster County, the defendants have a better opportunity to select a fair and impartial jury, Shelley's defense counsel argued.

On Oct. 4, 2013, Shelley and Andrew reportedly got into an argument with Virginia "Ginger" Barone, 68, of Guide Rock at her home, which neighbored their residence. Shelley told investigators that she became upset by comments Barone had made about her and her son, according to the arrest affidavit. She stabbed Barone twice in the back and then 20 times in the torso. Afterward, Barone was dragged into a nearby room and partially covered with boards.

Barone was found by law enforcement after a neighbor called for a welfare check.
Shelley and Andrew allegedly stole Barone's car, money and bank card and fled the area. Andrew was arrested for driving under the influence in Cass County. Shelley bonded him out the following morning, and the two allegedly stole another vehicle.

On Oct. 5, the Iowa State Patrol stopped Andrew and Shelley in the stolen vehicle near Newton, Iowa, and arrested them on suspicion of armed robbery in a parking lot in Newton.
Inside the vehicle, investigators found clothes belonging to Shelley and Andrew with blood stains on them as well as a knife. Officers found numerous cuts on Andrew's right hand and what appeared to be blood under the fingernails.

When arrested, investigators found two bank cards in Barone's name that had been used at least 25 times to access money from Barone's account after her death.

The Nebraska Attorney Generals Office is acting as special prosecutor for the case.

First-degree murder is a Class 1A felony punishable by life in prison. Use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison. Burglary and theft, value more than $1,500, are each a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

To read more, see Wednesday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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