Suspects in 'love triangle' murder appear in court

Pictured: Stephen Shappell and Morgan Mengel

July 23, 2010 12:55:07 PM PDT
A Chester County man and his boss's wife, both charged in the love-triangle murder of her husband, appeared in court on Thursday.

Stephen Shappell, 21, and Morgan Mengel, 34, are facing first-degree murder charges.

Shappell, of Broomall, waived his hearing. Mengel was held for trial.

Prosecutors claim Mengel conspired with Shappell, the man she was having an affair with, to kill her husband, Kevin.

They say the pair laced a Snapple with liquid nicotine then beat Kevin to death with a shovel and buried him behind Marple-Newtown High School last month.

In court Thursday, Action News obtained the text messages submitted as evidence.

One exchange the day before the murder:

Morgan to Stephen: Just wait babe soon enough.

Stephen replies: An I wanna get outta here I got a hole to dig ha.

Morgan says: U better not chicken out.

The day of the murder:

Morgan: He drinkin it?

Stephen: Ya kinda, really just waiting for him to bend over I have shovel in my hand haha.

Then later, Stephen texts: It's done get up here now.

RELATED: Read the text messages obtained by Action News

After the murder, prosecutors say the couple tried to cover it up by faking text messages and Facebook posts from Kevin, claiming he was leaving her and their 3 children.

According to investigators, Kevin Mengel was reported missing by his mother who reported to police she started getting text messages from her son, but he usually did not send texts.