Man, wife to be tried separately in slayings

Friday, May 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EUFAULA, Okla. (AP) -- A McIntosh County judge has ordered separate trials for a man and his wife accused in the beating death of an elderly couple last August.

District Judge Steven Taylor said Thursday after a meeting with defense attorneys that defense strategies of Harold and Vickie McElmurry are "antagonistic."

Taylor said to believe one "will be to disbelieve the other "if they are tried together. One trial for both could result in a mistrial, he said.

The McElmurrys are accused of killing Vivian Pendley, 75, and her 80-year-old paraplegic husband, Robert, for money and a car.

The Pendleys' beaten bodies were found Aug. 2 at their home in Lenna, about 10 miles west of Eufaula.

Harold McElmurry had testified that he wanted to exonerate his wife and accept the blame for the killings. His trial has been set for June 12. Authorities said Vickie McElmurry will likely stand trial in September.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the McElmurrys, whom the Pendleys had hired to do yard work.

The McElmurrys reportedly confessed to Texas authorities after being captured a few days later driving the Pendleys' car on their way back into the country from Mexico, authorities said.