Verona’s Abney gets 30 years in murder

Steve Chapman

Matthew Abney

Defendant makes Alford plea in shooting death of Coy Cole
A Verona man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after making an Alford plea to the murder of a Miller resident. Matthew D. Abney, 39, made the plea as part of a bargain with prosecutors. In exchange, the original charge of first-degree murder was amended to second-degree murder, and nine other charges were dismissed, including: first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action, tampering with a witness, two counts of tampering with evidence and abandoning a corpse.
The Lawrence County Record previously reported that the investigation into the death of the murder victim, Coy Cole, began on Dec. 1, 2019, when a sibling of his called the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) to file a missing person’s report. Investigators from the LCSO monitored Cole’s financial transactions, and determined Abney, 36, allegedly used Cole’s debit card on Nov. 22, 2019; Cole was not present during the transaction. Abney is a former roommate of Cole’s.
According to the probable cause statement in the case, a witness to Cole’s murder said that on Nov. 19, 2019, Abney came to Cole’s residence in Miller and forced both her and Cole, 52, to get on their knees. She said Abney shot Cole in the arm, and that he shot at her also but missed. She also reported that Abney fired several shots, and she heard Cole shout, “No, Matt!” and then saw him dead in his chair in the living room. Abney also allegedly took Cole’s keys and allegedly destroyed Cole’s and the witness’s cell phones.
The witness also said that an alleged accomplice, Raymond Fryling helped Abney to wrap Cole’s body in a shower curtain and then loaded it into a small trailer with two chairs that belonged to Cole. Fryling and Abney also allegedly discussed removing the bullet which Abney shot into Cole’s arm; it reportedly had gone into a wall.
According to the probable cause statement, the bullet was removed and given to Fryling. The witness also stated Fryling threatened to kill the witness’s family members in front of her and make her watch, and then kill her if she told anyone about what had happened.
The report also stated that, on Dec. 5, Abney drove the witness to a residence he was staying at with Fryling in Verona, where he allegedly struck her with a silver .32 caliber revolver and his fist, causing her to have facial fractures and breaking her right hand, resulting in her going to the emergency room.
Allegedly, Abney wanted a white SUV belonging to Cole for himself. Investigators spoke to Abney, who admitted to being at Cole’s residence when he was shot and helping to load Cole’s body on the truck. He also said he assisted in taking the body to Fryling’s residence, where it was burned. When he’d been questioned in an earlier investigation, he said Fryling had committed the murder.
Cole’s SUV was found at Fryling’s residence, and a loaded .32 caliber silver handgun was also found there.
According to the probable cause statement, the LCSO executed a search warrant at Fryling’s property on Dec. 9, where they found a fresh burn pile, human remains and parts of a tan chair.
Fryling was originally charged with Cole’s murder, but that charge was dropped. He still faces charges of first-degree robbery, abandonment of a corpse, three counts of tampering with evidence and tampering with a witness. He was scheduled to appear in court on Monday, July 11, for a plea hearing.
Also charged is Tanya Moore, who faces one count of abandoning a corpse and two counts of evidence tampering. She was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, July 12, for a deposition hearing.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


Please Login for Premium Content