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Judge declares mistrial for lawyer accused of killing millionaire father, his girlfriend

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LEBANON, Missouri — A Missouri judge declared a mistrial Tuesday for a suburban Kansas City lawyer accused of fatally shooting the girlfriend of her millionaire father, then forging documents to have the man taken off life support when he survived the attack.

Susan Elizabeth Van Note of Lee's Summit was scheduled to stand trial this week on charges of first-degree murder in the October 2010 deaths of her father, William Van Note, 67, and his girlfriend, Sharon Dickson, 59.

Before a jury was selected, Laclede County Circuit Judge Kenneth Hayden said he granted the defense's request for a mistrial because potential jurors had been discussing the case.

The judge said it was unclear when the trial would be rescheduled because his calendar is full until the end of 2016.

Camden County Prosecutor Michael Gilley said prosecutors disagreed and had suggested ways to avoid a mistrial.

"I was ready to go," Gilley said.

Van Note's lawyers declined comment after the mistrial was announced.

Friends said William Van Note was set to marry Dickson after spending two decades with her. She was expected to be named personal representative of his estimated $1.6 million estate, as well as his three boats and second vacation home on Florida's Gulf Coast, if she outlived him.

But Dickson was found dead at the couple's Lake of the Ozarks summer vacation home after the October 2010 shooting. William Van Note was hospitalized.

Prosecutors said his daughter, who in 2009 claimed she was nearly $375,000 in debt and filed for bankruptcy, forged durable power of attorney documents and persuaded doctors to take William Van Note off life support Oct. 5, three days after he was shot.

He died the next morning, and roughly four months later his daughter took charge of his assets.

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