Melvin Scherrer of Bonne Terre is accused of first-degree murder in the death of Cape Girardeau tattoo artist Sam Francis, whose body was found in a septic tank near Bonne Terre in July. 42—year-old Brent Bouren of St. Louis is charged with second-degree murder in the same case, and pled not guilty today in St. Francois County Court. His attorneys requested a reduction in the 250,000 dollar bond, but it was denied. Prosecutors have charged Bouren with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, witness tampering, second-degree assault and felonious restraint in connection with Francis' death. Authorities found Francis' body in a septic tank near Bonne Terre, on July 25th, a day after federal agents searched Melvin Scherrer's property and arrested him as part of a drug trafficking investigation. Francis' stepfather said in February that Francis had gone to Cedar Lake with members of a motorcycle gang who wanted him to do some tattoo work for them, and was afraid the gang members would kill him, his stepfather said. Bouren and Scherrer face federal charges in connection with a suspected drug trafficking ring involving 25 people, most from Missouri. His preliminary hearing for the murder charge is scheduled for November 19th.
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