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Two plead guilty to drug charges related to Columbia man's death

MEXICO, Mo. - Two people accused of taking part in the killing of a Columbia man have pleaded guilty to a drug charge.

Audrain County Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger confirms that Arline Diedrich and Justin Traughber admitted to second-degree drug trafficking Friday in court.

The two still face murder charges for the death of Leon Wilder III on July 6, 2017, according to Shellabarger. Wilder was found bleeding on the side of County Road 997 in Audrain County, near the Boone County line. Authorities believe Richard Henry shot Wilder.

Audrain County sheriff's deputies believe Traughber arranged a meth deal between Wilder, Diedrich and Henry at the Welcome Inn in Columbia. Traughber and Henry allegedly forced Wilder into a truck Diedrich was driving at gunpoint.

Judge Wesley Dalton ordered a sentencing assessment report for Traughber and Diedrich to come back on Aug. 24. The crime carries a maximum 15-year sentence.

Traughber previously pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a weapon. Investigators found Traughber, a convicted felon, walking on Mulberry Road in Boone County on July 11, 2017 with a gun. He was arrested in connection to the Wilder death in Audrain County, and also charged for illegally possessing the gun in Boone County

Attorneys for both sides in the Henry case are scheduled to pick a trial date July 20. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty for Henry.


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