Perry, Mo., woman gets 20-year prison sentence on number of charges

Posted: Jul. 24, 2014 6:58 pm Updated: Aug. 7, 2014 9:15 pm

By DON O'BRIENHerald-Whig Staff Writer

NEW LONDON, Mo. -- A Perry woman originally charged with second-degree murder in the 2011 death of a Ralls County woman was sent to prison Thursday after a hearing in Ralls County Circuit Court.

Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd sentenced Christina M. Schalk, 32, to 20 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on three felony cases. Schalk pleaded guilty July 1 to 17 charges in the cases.

The most serious charges stemmed from an Oct. 28, 2011, incident when Karen S. Caldwell, 47, of Perry, died of a heroin overdose. Originally charged with second-degree murder in the case, Schalk instead pleaded guilty to a Class C felony of involuntary manslaughter and received seven years in prison. Schalk was sentenced to five years on a delivery of a controlled substance charge in that case.

Police said Schalk delivered heroin to Caldwell on Oct. 25. She died three days later of a drug overdose.

Schalk also pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and theft charges after she was arrested in connection with a July 8 burglary of the Junction convenience store in Perry. Police said Schalk, an employee of the store at the time of the incident, conspired with three other men to rob the store, a popular stopping point on Mo. 19.

Schalk also pleaded guilty to four counts of felony theft and eight counts of felony forgery stemming from an Aug. 23 arrest.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit with her hands and feet shackled, Schalk said little other than answering all of Shepherd's questions.

Caldwell had no family members in attendance. Ralls County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rapp said a long-time friend of Caldwell's gave a "very powerful" victim's impact statement during the July 1 plea hearing.

Schalk has been held in the Marion County Jail for nearly a year. She will get credit for time served. Rapp said he didn't know if Schalk would be eligible for day-for-day jail credit, saying the decision was up to the Missouri Department of Corrections.