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An Alabama man who authorities thought would be facing murder charges in his ex-girlfriend’s death has been indicted on charges of abusing a corpse.
Marcus Spanevelo, 35, is the sole suspect in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend, Cassie Carli, 37. On Tuesday, Spanevelo — who was never officially charged with killing Carli — was indicted on one count of abuse of a corpse, as reported by AL.com.
Carli vanished on March 27, shortly after she and Spanevelo were due to meet in Navarre Beach, Florida for a pre-planned custody exchange of their 4-year-old daughter. The missing mother’s vehicle, with her purse still inside, was later found in the Juana’s Pagodas restaurant parking lot, where she and Spanvelo had planned to meet.
The child was also reported missing but later found safe.
On April 2, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced that Spanevelo had been arrested in Tennessee on charges of tampering with evidence, destruction of evidence and lying to authorities about Carli’s disappearance.
Later that day, Carli’s body was found buried in a shallow grave inside an abandoned barn in Springville, Alabama — nearly 300 miles from where Carli disappeared. According to AL.com, the barn was in Spanevelo’s name, and he was known to be living and working in the area in the months preceding Carli’s disappearance.
Law enforcement officials, including Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson, were confident Spanevelo would be charged with murder, pending the results of a postmortem examination.
“I think we have a great case,” Johnson said of Spanevelo. “And he’s either going to spend the rest of his life in prison, or he’s going to get the needle. Hopefully, the needle.”
However, St. Clair County, Alabama Coroner Dennis Russell released the findings on Oct. 10 of an autopsy performed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, showing that Carli’s cause and manner of death could not be determined.
The findings came the same day jury selection was slated to begin in Florida, prompting prosecutors to delay proceedings. The charges in Florida against Spanevelo were dropped.
St. Clair County District Attorney Lyle Harmon then announced on Oct. 17 a warrant had been issued for Spanevelo’s arrest, charging him with abuse of a corpse.
Florida Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Alderman said they would send Spanevelo to Alabama, according to Fox Birmingham affiliate WBRC.
“In an effort to prosecute the strongest case, and after communicating with law enforcement agencies in both states, the Office of the State Attorney believes that in the interest of justice, the actions of Marcus Spanevelo are most appropriately prosecuted in Alabama.”
Spanevelo was subsequently extradited to Alabama.
He was scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in the St. Clair County courtroom, but the hearing was canceled, according to AL.com, and the defendant was served with the grand jury’s indictment.
Also on Tuesday, the once-public court file related to Spanevelo’s case was made confidential, according to AL.com, and no longer appeared on their online court system. Officials reportedly told the Alabama outlet they were prohibited from giving an explanation.
If convicted on the latest charges, Spanevelo faces one to 10 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
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