Authorities say a Sedalia area man, recently charged with attempted rape and assault, has confessed to the murder of a missing Marshall woman whose remains were discovered on a property where he resided in the Goodwill Chapel Trailer Park, south of Sedalia city limits.
Judge Robert Liston issued a no bond first-degree murder and armed criminal action warrant on Monday for Joseph F. Arbeiter, 65, currently in custody in the Pettis County Jail. Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser presented the case to the grand jury the same day and also obtained an indictment.
“There were two separate indictments returned against Joseph Franz Arbeiter this morning. One of those repeated the offenses that arose out of the April 30 attack of a person that lived near his home,” Mittelhauser told reporters during a press conference Tuesday morning at the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office. “The second indictment is the murder charge. He is charged with murder first-degree and armed criminal action in the death of Miss Black.”
According to court documents, the suspect told detectives he killed the victim, Mandy M. Black, 35, sometime around the beginning of the year and dismembered the body to conceal his crime. Detectives stated that Arbeiter admittedly stabbed the victim multiple times in the chest and placed her in a metal box and that he added he did not know the victim’s name, only that she went by “Mandy.”
“Just as much as this has been a difficult investigation for my staff, our hearts and prayers go out to Mandy’s family as they deal with this tragic event in their lives, as well as the loss of a loved one,” Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said during the press conference.
Months later, Arbeiter dismembered the body, placing parts of the victim in the metal box and in several shallow grave sites, according to court documents. At this time, Bond said they believe Arbeiter acted alone in the murder.
“He has confessed to the killing of Mandy Black and the later dismemberment of her body in an attempt to conceal the offense,” Bond said.
Black had not been reported as a missing person. She was identified Thursday due to specific tattoos still visible on the body. Her last known permanent address was in Marshall, but Bond said they had received reports which indicated she had been staying in Sedalia.
“(The) last address that we have for her is Marshall. We did have some reports that she was staying in the Sedalia area but had not established a permanent residence,” he said. “We have (learned) through investigation and prior information that had come about last week that she had been staying at residences locally but I would not say she had moved in, she was visiting.”
Arbeiter has also been charged with attempted rape, sodomy, three counts of assault, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action stemming from the April 30 attack on a neighbor.
It was this incident that served as a catalyst that led to the discovery of the missing woman. According to court documents, trailer park maintenance workers were cleaning out the trailer to be ready for rental again when they discovered two human arms inside the metal box and called authorities. Once officers from the sheriff’s office arrived, a deputy found the additional human remains in several shallow graves in a wooded area near the trailer.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week that Arbeiter, then 15-years-old, was charged with the murder of Nancy Zanone, 28, a married mother of two young children, during a burglary Dec. 2, 1963.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole, however, in October 1966, the state Supreme Court overturned Arbeiter’s life sentence and sent the case back to the trial court, saying his statements to police were inadmissible because officers failed to take him “immediately” to the juvenile court, as the law required given his age.
After the case was sent back to the trial court, the circuit attorney’s office subpoenaed Arbeiter’s juvenile records over his lawyer’s objections. Arbeiter was convicted again and sentenced to 40 years on a second-degree murder charge.
But the Missouri Supreme Court decided in January 1970 that Arbeiter’s juvenile records should have remained sealed and that without them, the state did not have sufficient proof of his guilt.
In 1970, he was indicted in a rape case but later cleared. He served four years on a 1971 burglary conviction, then in 1974 was charged with murder in the killing of a tavern owner in Herculaneum and sexual assault of a woman there. A jury acquitted him of those charges in 1976, The Post-Dispatch reported.
An arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday.