Newark man held on $1 million bond on felony murder, abuse of corpse charges

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A Newark man is behind bars on a $1 million bond after being charged with felony first-degree murder and felony abuse of a corpse.

According to court information filed Wednesday in Independence County Circuit Court, William Earl Mingues (pictured), 47, of Newark, is facing the charges after authorities were called Tuesday afternoon to an apartment at 805 Long St. in Newark where a home health aide had discovered the body of a client, identified as Donnie Scheffler, 61.

The court information noted the aide entered the unsecured apartment and observed a foul odor. After further entering the apartment, the aide told authorities they observed a body on the floor and blood splatter on the walls. After deputies and the Independence County Coroner confirmed the identification of the deceased, a search warrant was obtained to search for evidence and investigate the cause and manner of Scheffler’s death, the court info said.

The affidavit of probable cause for arrest said “…officers found Scheffler had suspected blunt force injuries to his head, severe sharp force injuries to his abdomen, and that both his legs had been severed at the knees.”

Officers then interviewed Mingues, Scheffler’s next-door neighbor at the apartment complex. The court info says Mingues could not remember the last time he saw Scheffler and that Scheffler was “…not a good friend and that he barely knew him. Mr. Mingues stated the Mr. Scheffler ‘always beats on his wall,’ and his alarm bell outside the apartment was always ringing.”

The affidavit noted the apartments are equipped with an alarm bell on their exterior in case a resident needed assistance. After inspection, it was found Scheffler’s bell had been tampered with, according to the court information. Mingues told officials that a female neighbor had requested Mingues disarm the victim’s alarm, but he could not provide further information about the woman.

During the interview, officers noted a “red substance” on Mingues’s boots and asked him to remove them and empty his pockets. Officers said the substance appeared to be blood. When a dark hair was found during an inspection of Mingues’s wallet that didn’t match the length of Mingues’s hair, the suspect told officers the hair belonged to Scheffler, the affidavit said.

During a post-Miranda interview with authorities, the affidavit noted Mingues provided specific details of how Scheffler had been killed, including information that he hit the victim one time on the head.

In the affidavit, Mingues is quoted as telling investigators: “You know I did and you know why I did it, I had to silence, I had to silence the bell, I had to silence it, he was in pain, agony, suffering, he told me, please help me, I tried to get him to the doctor nobody would take him, I tried to do this, nobody wanted him there, I said I’m sorry, there is only one way and that’s to bag and tag it. I don’t know any other f****** way, I don’t know.”

Mingues stated Scheffler “literally” asked him to cause his death, and that Mingues said that Scheffler did not want him [Mingues] to get into trouble for killing him, the affidavit said.

Mingues is being held on a $1 million bond at the Independence County Detention Facility.

Image via Independence County Sheriff’s Department

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