Mower Theft Ties Victim to Mo. Shooting Suspect

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

FULTON, Mo. (AP) - Court records show that one of the three
people fatally shot in central Missouri had stored an expensive
lawn mower allegedly stolen by the man police are seeking in the
slayings.

The records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press provide a
direct link between Eugene Pinet, who died in a shooting Wednesday,
and Joshua William Maylee, 23, whom police are hunting in
connection with that death and two others.

On Wednesday, a gunman killed Pinet, 48, and his 57-year-old
wife Jackie at their home in the Holts Summit area. In a separate
incident a shooter killed Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, and injured his
wife Gina, 41, at their home in the same area.

Police Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler of the Mid-Missouri Major Case
Squad told reporters Thursday that more than 100 law enforcement
officers were searching for Maylee and that evidence had been
developed that connects the shootings. He did not elaborate.

Police say the killings are not random but have declined to
discuss a possible motive or why the victims may have been
targeted. Bruchsaler has said the gunman used a high-powered rifle
and a handgun, and that authorities believed he acted alone.

Maylee, also of Holts Summit, faces two felony theft charges. A
police probable cause statement in one of those cases says Maylee
stole the mower, valued at around $10,000, from a home in Kingdom
City on Oct. 15, 2009. He has not been charged in connection with
the shootings Wednesday.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Clark says in the
document that Maylee told police in a July 20 interview that he put
the lawn mower in an enclosed trailer and took it to Pinet's home.
The lawn mower was recovered under a search warrant two days later,
the document says.

It is not clear from court documents whether Pinet know the
mower was stolen.

Clark did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.

Bruchsaler declined to comment about whether Pinet was aware the
lawn mower had been stolen, saying he did not have firsthand
knowledge about the theft investigation.

Callaway County Prosecutor Robert Sterner, who filed the theft
charges Wednesday, also declined to comment.

Bruchsaler told reporters that police have distributed a
description of Maylee and a vehicle to law enforcement in bordering
states. He said police want farmers to be on the lookout for a
four-door silver Pontiac Bonneville on their properties.

On Oct. 4, Maylee also had been charged with theft for allegedly
stealing a tractor from Holts Summit resident William Essen on
March 24, 2009. Clark said in a probable cause statement that
Maylee "confessed to stealing the tractor" and told police he
kept it at his house for several weeks before taking it to Ashland,
Mo., where it sold for $2,500. The document does not say who bought
the tractor.

Essen told the AP on Thursday that he does not know Maylee and
was unaware anyone had been charged with stealing his tractor, for
which he paid about $14,000 in 2004.

"If somebody bought it for $2,000, that would be suspect -
somebody would know it was not right. It was in good condition,"
Essen said.

The probable cause document includes a section on whether there
are any facts indicating the defendant will not appear on a summons
or poses a danger to the victim, the community or any other person.
Clark wrote that there were none.


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