Chad Cheever

Chad Cheever

Chad Cheever pleaded not guilty to charges of murder by abuse and second-degree assault on Tuesday in Linn County Circuit Court.

A 12-member jury trial, estimated to last 10 days, also was scheduled to start on Feb. 3.

Cheever is accused of crimes connected to the death of his relative, Tangent-area farm mechanic Don Whisenhunt.

Whisenhunt, 60, allegedly died because of massive injuries caused by a physical confrontation with Cheever the night of Sept. 20. Cheever allegedly left Whisenhunt outside overnight on Whisenhunt’s Tangent property, according to court paperwork.

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Tami Jean Fulbright, Whisenhunt's daughter, has pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal mistreatment for her role in her father’s death. She allegedly withheld necessary and adequate medical treatment from him.

Fulbright was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In a separate case from May, Cheever is charged with two counts of felony fourth-degree assault and an additional count of attempted fourth-degree assault.

Those charges stem from his conduct at the Linn County Jail, and the victims listed on court paperwork were recently inmates at the facility.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.