Brent Elliott

A Cameron lawyer’s ethics complaint against a Livingston County Circuit judge has been rejected.  Attorney Michelle Puckett-Burkhead had accused Judge Brent Elliott of removing and destroying questionable records from two case files in DeKalb County, just one day after he won the August 2012 Missouri Primary Election.  Puckett-Burkhead said she first noticed Elliott’s “unethical” behavior after she made a campaign contribution of $500 to his opponent Bill Burris.

One of the files Elliott allegedly mishandled contained records related to the Mark Woodworth murder case.  The Chillicothe resident was twice convicted of murder in the 1990 shooting death of his neighbor, Cathy Robertson.  He was serving a life sentence when the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the second ruling in early January.  One month later, Woodworth was released on bond.  The state is preparing to try him for a third time.

Elliott served as a private attorney at the time of the initial Woodworth investigation.  Puckett-Burkhead and Woodworth’s attorney, Robert Ramsey, accused Elliott of misplacing one document in particular.  In an exclusive interview with KMZU News in March 2013, the two lawyers said the file contained an order of protection by Cathy’s daughter, Rochelle Robertson against her then-boyfriend, Brandon Hagan (Thomure).  The file was later found in another county.  The two attorneys said Elliott was the attorney of record at the time.

Puckett-Burkhead and Ramsey also allege that Grand Jury transcripts and case files involving Jim Johnson could also not be found in the Woodworth’s case files.  Johnson, according to the special master’s report, was a “full-time, small-time thief specializing in stealing farm products, grains and chemicals in Livingston and adjacent counties.”  Johnson reportedly had testimony that would incriminate Woodworth.

In all, Elliott was accused of misconduct in at least four separate cases (Standiford v. Standiford, Ashford v. Merkley, State v. Gross, and State v. Woodworth).  The Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline cleared the judge of wrongdoing, according to Elliott’s attorney.

Related Stories:

Judge’s Alleged Actions Raise Concerns


Woodworth Trial Delayed Until September

Woodworth to Return to Court in Late July

Judge Grants Change of Venue

Decisions in Woodworth Trial Delayed

Hearing Set in Woodworth Case

Judge to Consider Request for Nixon’s Testimony

Koster: Nixon Shouldn’t Have to Testify

Gov. Nixon Sought for Woodworth Testimony

Judge Excludes Evidence in Woodworth Case

Testimony at Woodworth Bond Hearing

Court Proceedings Begin for Chillicothe Man

Woodworth Case Assigned to Platte County

New Documents Released in Woodworth Case

Requests Denied in Woodworth Supreme Court Case

Motions Continue in Woodworth Case

State Files Intent to Retry, Woodworth Attorney Files Motion for Rehearing

State Opposes Bail Request

High Court Awaits Response from AG

Timeline Set for Opposition to Woodworth’s Bail Request

Breaking News: New Developments in Woodworth Case

Families Await High Court Ruling

Woodworth Case Goes Before Mo. Supreme Court

State v. Woodworth – Both Sides Speak

Woodworth Hearing – Live Blog

Mo. Supreme Court to Hold Hearing in Woodworth Case

Oxenhandler Stands by Woodworth Ruling

AG’s Objections Rejected in Woodworth Case

AG Files Protest in Chillicothe Murder Case

Woodworth to Remain in Prison

Woodworth’s Lawyer Files Motion for Bond

The Woodworth Trial: Key Players

Judge to ‘Pore Over’ Woodworth Letters

Former Prosecutor to Testify in Woodworth Case

Chillicothe Man Indicted by Grand Jury

Trial Date Set for Man Convicted in ’90 Slaying