Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman announced Thursday that Michael Talley, who had pleaded guilty in the Big Piney murder of Keith Bridwell, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the murder.
Talley was the second individual charged in the August 2016 murder of Bridwell. Lindsay Debault, of St. James, had pleaded guilty in March of last year. Debault, as part of a plea agreement had agreed to testify on behalf of the state in the prosecution of Talley.
Talley was also sentenced to 20 years by Judge John Beger on a charge of Robbery in the First Degree. Debault has not been sentenced yet and her sentencing is scheduled for April 13, 2018.
Previously reported by the Daily Guide, Debault was charged in August of 2016 after being apprehended with Talley by Springfield Police Department after having been accused of trying to steal merchandise from a Home Depot. The two were identified as persons of interest in the shooting death of Keith Bridwell.
When Talley and Debault were initially arrested, an explosive device was discovered in their vehicle, along with additional explosive devices found during the execution of a search warrant.
Debault confessed to detectives that she was with Talley when Bridwell was killed, according to the probable cause statement filed last year.
“Debault told me her intentions were to commit a robbery for the money Bridwell still owed her,” the detective wrote in the probable cause statement.
According to court records, Debault told the detective that Talley and she arrived at Bridwell’s residence the afternoon of Aug. 6 and Talley left the vehicle they were in with a .22 caliber pistol and went to the back door of Bridwell’s residence.
“Debault stated she waited out in the vehicle when she heard two apparent gunshots,” the sheriff’s detective wrote in the probable cause statement. “Debault told me she ran inside the house and noticed Bridwell was lying the floor breathing and suffering from apparent gunshots. Debault stated she ran into the master bedroom where she stole several items belonging to Bridwell. Debault told me she went back outside and came back in the residence again to take more items belonging to Bridwell. Debault told me she waited in the vehicle where she heard two more gunshots.”
Then Talley exited the residence.
“Debault told me she was naive and assumed once Talley got out of the vehicle with the handgun, his intentions were that of murdering Bridwell,” the sheriff’s detective stated in court records.
According to the probable cause statement in Talley’s initial arrest, Talley told Detectives that he had gone to Bridwell’s home on August 5, with a baseball bat with the intention “of killing Bridwell that night by beating him with a baseball bat.”
Another male was at Bridwell’s residence when Talley arrived and he “stated that he did not go through with the beating,” according to the probable cause statement. Instead, Talley returned “on the early morning of August 6″ and knocked on the back door.
Talley, the probable cause statement reported, asked Bridwell for a glass of water and was allowed to enter the home. After entering the residence, Talley “shot Bridwell once.” Talley told detectives, the probable cause statement said, “Bridwell attempted to get away when he (Talley shot him again in the side area.”
“Talley continued to say Bridwell stumbled to the bathroom area where he fell. Talley said he took a towel placed the towel over the head of Bridwell and shot him at close range twice in the side of the head,” the probable cause statement reports.
Talley admitted to stealing items belonging to Bridwell after the shooting, according to the probable cause statement.
The shooting occurred in the 33000 block of State Highway TT in Big Piney, which is located just outside of Fort Leonard Wood in southeast Pulaski County.
“I want to commend the excellent police work by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department that went into solving this crime which resulted in this life sentence,” Hillman said in his press release. “Specifically I want to commend Detective Christian Butler who spent numerous hours investigating this case. I also want to recognize all of the deputies and detectives, as well as the Springfield Police Department, who worked to bring this murderer to justice. Finally I want to thank the Bridwell family for all of their cooperation and patience as this case progressed.”