Rachel Staudte asks judge to vacate plea in antifreeze poisoning deaths case

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - A woman from Springfield who pleaded guilty to helping her mother murder her father and brother by poisoning them with antifreeze now wants to take back her plea.

Rachel Staudte received two life sentences for the deaths of her brother and father, who died five months apart in 2012 after their drinks were spiked with antifreeze. She received another 20-year prison sentence for a similar poisoning of her sister in the spring of 2013; that sister's hospitalization led to the investigation of the two men's deaths. That sister survived but has brain damage.

Rachel's mother, Diane Staudte, entered an Alford plea this year for the murders of her husband and son and the assault of her daughter. Diane Staudte is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison; her plea spared her a possible death penalty. An Alford plea acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.

Rachel Staudte recently filed a hand-written motion to vacate her guilty plea, which was made in 2015. She was sentenced last March 1. After receiving Staudte's petition from the state prison in Vandalia, Greene County Circuit Judge Tom Mountjoy assigned her a public defender, and gave that attorney 60 days to amend the motion.

Rachel Staudte says there was a conflict of interest because her trial lawyer is a friend of one of the prosecution's witnesses. She also says her lawyer intimidated her and told her to make up details in her statement to prosecutors.

Rachel Staudte also wrote that there is new evidence in her case. She also claims some of her rights were violated. She wrote that she was not mentally sound when investigators questioned her, and said she is afraid of men, so she should not have had a male attorney, and should not have been questioned by three men in a small room.