SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former teacher at Missouri State University accused of killing another MSU professor will stand trial before a judge without a jury.

Edward Gutting waived his right to a jury trial late last week and will instead face a bench trial presided over by Circuit Judge David C. Jones.

The trial date remains the same: May 22, 2023.

Gutting is accused of stabbing Marc Cooper to death at Cooper’s home in the 600 block of East University Street in 2016. Cooper’s wife Nancy Cooper was injured in the incident.


UPDATE 1/18/23 — After years of back-and-forth court appointments, pleas to claim him unfit to stand trial and canceled trials, Edward M. Gutting is scheduled to stand before a jury once again.

Gutting is scheduled to go to jury trial on May 22.

Previous coverage:

Marc F. Cooper

Original story, published Aug. 18, 2016:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield police say the man who was stabbed to death in the 600 block of E. University St. Wednesday was Marc F. Cooper, 66, and that Edward M. Gutting has been charged with murder.

Police also say Nancy Cooper, 67, was injured.

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson has charged 43-year-old  Edward Gutting with second-degree murder,  two counts of armed criminal action, and first-degree burglary.

Missouri State University officials confirm both Cooper and Gutting were teachers at the university.

Cooper taught history from 1980 to 2014 and served as department head from 1997 to 2003.

Gutting, who works in the modern and classical languages department, has been placed on administrative leave at the university, according to a statement. 

When police got to the house on E. University shortly after 7:30 Wednesday night, they found Gutting outside the residence, walking in the street covered in blood. He was immediately detained and police did not find any weapons on him.

When officers went inside they found Cooper dead inside with apparent knife wounds.  Nancy Cooper was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  The suspect was arrested at the scene.

According to the probable cause statement, Gutting entered the home without permission through the back door wielding a large knife. Gutting chased Cooper from the back door through the living room, stabbing him the entire time until Cooper was knocked to the ground.

While Gutting was assaulting Cooper, Gutting told Nancy Cooper, “it was between him and Cooper” and “he did not want to kill her but he would if he had to.”

Ms. Cooper tried to stop the attack and sustained several cuts during the altercation. She ran from the residence to call for help.

Witnesses say they saw Gutting leave his Mercedes Benz wagon and enter the home.

An autopsy will be performed, police said. 

The Missouri State University faculty and staff today are mourning the loss of Dr. Marc Cooper, emeriti history professor.

Edward Gutting, instructor of modern and classical languages, has been arrested in Cooper’s death. A news release from the Springfield Police Department provides more details on this incident. Missouri State University is cooperating fully in the police investigation.

Pending the outcome of this investigation, Gutting has been placed on administrative leave. There is no known threat to campus.

“During his nearly 35 years on faculty, Dr. Cooper was an active scholar, publishing several articles on the cuneiform tablets of ancient Iraq, and his teaching specialty area was in the history of the Ancient Near East,” said Dr. Victor Matthews, dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs.

Cooper received his PhD from the department of history at the University of Minnesota in 1979, then served in Missouri State’s history department from 1980-2014.

Cooper served as department head in history from 1997-2003. Over the course of his career, he was a visiting professor at Hebrew University in 1987 and a Fellow for Imagining America in 2010-11.

After retirement he continued to serve the university as the managing editor of the eJournal in Public Affairs. He was active in developing blended and online courses and in promoting engaged scholarship.

Police briefed the media this afternoon

Police Press Conference 8:18:16 from SGF CityView on Vimeo.

Gutting, if convicted, could be sentenced to life in prison. He is currently being held on a $1-million bond in the Greene County Jail.