Friday, October 29, 2010
The Callaway County Prosecutor's Office has charged Joshua Maylee with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with a triple homicide investigation.
The charges against Maylee, 23, were filed the day after he was captured, ending a hunt that involved hundreds of police, led to tighter security at schools and a hospital and left some residents uneasy about their safety.
Maylee is accused of fatally shooting Eugene Pinet, 48, and his 57-year-old wife, Jackie, at their Holts Summit home late Tuesday night. He also is charged with killing Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, and wounding his wife Gina, 41, in a shooting at their home, also located in the Holts Summit area.
It was not immediately known Friday if Maylee, who also was charged with one count of first-degree assault, had an attorney.
Police have said the killings were not random.
A probable cause statement filed Friday by police described Maylee as an associate of Jeff Werdehausen and Allen Pinet. Court documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press indicated Maylee had stolen a lawn mower in October 2009 and taken it to Pinet’s home.
The documents filed Friday say Gina Werdehausen — who was hospitalized after being shot in the neck — told police that she and her husband “had a number of problems with Maylee and that lately threats had been made.”
Police said that shell casings found at the two murder scenes matched those found at Maylee’s home, according to the probable cause statements.
Thursday afternoon, a collective sigh of relief could probably be heard across Mid-Missouri after authorities announced the capture of a man they believe killed three people and wounded another person earlier this week.
Joshua Maylee, 23, was taken into custody without incident around 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Cooper County after what authorities described as a statewide search for the Holts Summit area resident.
The area where Maylee was picked up is north of Jamestown and southeast of Boonville. It would take about an hour to get there from Holts Summit.
Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department and spokesman for the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, said Maylee walked up to a residence near Missouri 179. He had injuries to his hand and foot and asked for help. The resident called authorities, who recognized Maylee when they arrived. He acknowledged his identity and was taken into custody.
Maylee was not armed when he was apprehended. After being treated for his injuries, which were described as minor, Maylee was transported back to the Callaway County Jail in Fulton.
Most Mid-Missouri residents were on edge for about 48 hours after Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, and his wife Gina, 41, were shot Tuesday night and Eugene Pinet, 48 and his wife, Jackie, 57, were shot Wednesday morning. Authorities found the Werdehausens around 1:40 a.m. Wednesday and the Pinets around 10:30 a.m.
Throughout the search, Bruchsaler said Maylee was the person of interest they wanted to talk to about the shootings of the Holts Summit area residents.
He said it was Gina who had told authorities that Maylee was who they should be looking for in this case. Bruchsaler also re-emphasized Thursday that they believed Maylee acted alone.
Gina, the only survivor of the attacks, remained in stable condition Thursday at University Hospital in Columbia, which went off lockdown status after Maylee’s capture.
On Thursday, Callaway Hills and North schools in Holts Summit, Fulton schools and South Callaway schools at Mokane decided to lock the outside doors to their buildings Thursday. Blair Oaks schools did have outside doors locked Wednesday, but not Thursday.
Authorities and school officials kept in contact the past few days about security issues. Bruchsaler said there was never any reason to believe Maylee was going after children.
Officials at the schools said they did maintain a heightened level of awareness at their buildings and in some cases may not have gone out to recess, not so much for safety concerns, but more for the peace of mind of students, staff and parents of the children.
Despite these precautions, one local law officer said he was amazed at how much hysteria the case had caused. He said a little girl came up to him Wednesday night, asking if she would be safe. He said he reassured her she would be.
Thursday afternoon, Bruchsaler continued to emphasize that they believed Maylee knew his victims and was not going after people at random.
“Every victim was connected to dealings in his past,” Bruchsaler said
Bruchsaler also said it was because they could not offer 24-hour protection to those who may have had past dealings with Maylee that they recommended those individuals find other places to stay while authorities searched for him.
Bruchsaler ended a Thursday afternoon news conference saying that although Maylee was in custody, the major case squad could be working into the weekend.
“We’ve got a lot of evidence to go through and a lot of people still left to talk to,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.