Stealing case may link Maylee to victim

Even before his arrest Thursday afternoon as a “person of interest” in this week’s Holts Summit area killings, Joshua William Maylee, 23, had been charged in two stealing cases filed in Callaway County Associate Circuit Court.

One of those cases may provide a link connecting Maylee to the murders of Eugene Pinet and his wife, Jackie Lee Pinet, at their home — 1489 Heartnut Drive — west of Holts Summit.

But neither of the charges nor probable cause statements in either case name the other shooting victims — Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, who died, and his wife, Gina Werdehausen, 41, who was wounded and was listed in stable condition Thursday evening at University Hospital in Columbia.

They were shot at their farm east of Holts Summit — 3682 County Road 488.

Prosecutor Robert Sterner filed the charges in two different theft cases just this month.

The second case was filed Wednesday morning — the same day the victims’ bodies were found — charging Maylee with the Oct. 15, 2009, theft of a Grass Hopper Zero Turn Mower from Donald C. Hanson’s home, northwest of Fulton and south of Interstate 70.

The probable cause statement, written by Highway Patrol Officer Jason P. Clark, said Hanson reported the theft the following Monday to the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office. Clark said he learned about the theft during a July 20, 2010, interview with Maylee, who told Clark he “drove his truck to a residence near Hatton and removed the lawn mower without the consent of the owner ... drove the mower into an enclosed trailer and took it to” the Pinets’ home.

Clark then reported Maylee identified the mower “as we drove by the (Pinet) residence,” and it was recovered two days later, with a search warrant.

Nothing in Clark’s statement indicates the Pinets knew the mower, worth $10,000, had been stolen.

The first case was filed Oct. 4.

It charged Maylee with the March 24, 2009, theft of a Mahindra Tractor from William Essen, 10885 Old Highway 54, Holts Summit.

Clark’s probable cause statement in that case said Maylee confessed to the theft during an interview, telling the investigator he “drove the tractor to his house at 10741 Old Highway 54, which is just north of the scene of the theft.”

Then, after keeping the tractor at his home for several weeks, Maylee told Clark he took the tractor to Ashland, “where it sold for $2,500.”

Clark’s statement did not name the buyer.

Essen told The Associated Press he paid about $14,000 for the tractor in 2004.

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

Essen also told The AP he didn’t know Maylee, and did not know charges had been filed in the case until Thursday.

Probable cause statements are required by Supreme Court rules to be filed with criminal charges, telling the court why an investigating officer believes a crime was committed and the suspect committed it.

Although not required by the rule, most probable cause statements also include a space for the officer to suggest that the suspect poses a danger either to the victim of the offense, to another person or to the community.

Clark did not warn of any danger in either statement filed with the two stealing charges.

Both thefts were listed as Class C felonies, with a maximum seven-year prison sentence.

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