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41-year-old Keith Comfort has been sentenced to 26 years in prison (undated file photo courtesy of the Boone County Sheriff's Department website)

High-profile Columbia murder trial is a go for Monday

41-year-old Keith Comfort’s jury trial is set to begin on February 27, 2023 in Columbia (undated file photo courtesy of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department website)

About 80 potential jurors will be called to the Boone County Courthouse in downtown Columbia for Monday’s jury selection in a high-profile murder trial.

41-year-old Keith Comfort is charged with second degree murder for the 2006 death of his wife, Megan Shultz. Her body was discovered in Columbia’s city landfill in 2019, after a lengthy search by Columbia Police.

Boone County Circuit Judge Jeff Harris is aware of the local news media coverage in Comfort’s case. If someone has heard something about the case, Judge Harris says it’s not disqualifying and that he will ask them if they can keep an open mind. Boone County assistant prosecutor Susan Boresi tells Judge Harris that “Newsweek” and the Oxygen Channel have also done stories on Comfort’s case.

939 the Eagle News was in the courtroom for Tuesday’s pre-trial conference. Defense attorney Kevin O’Brien indicates he will argue self-defense at trial. Counselor O’Brien told Judge Harris on Tuesday that the last person to see Megan before she died saw her strike her husband. Prosecutor Boresi tells the court that a slap across the face is no excuse for murder.

Both sides agree that that a tape of Comfort’s statement to Wisconsin authorities will play in its entirety during the trial, with no edits.

CPD’s probable cause statement quotes Comfort as telling police that his wife was frantic and swinging her arms at him, after she allegedly “ripped someone off” during a drug transaction. Comfort is quoted as telling detectives that he strangled his wife before placing her body in a black garbage bag, then throwing it into his Amelia street apartment dumpster near Old Highway 63.

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