Wednesday, May 28, 2014
The motion for a change of judge in an Auxvasse murder case was granted.
Callaway Circuit Judge Jodie Asel granted the change this week, according to Case.net — Missouri’s online court records system website at courts.mo.gov.
Judge Christine Carpenter will now oversee the trial of Gastler, who is accused of attacking his neighbors — a father and son. The attack left the son dead and the father injured. Carpenter will now determine whether to grant Gastler’s motion for a change of venue, Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson told the Fulton Sun.
Public Defender Justin Carver is representing Gastler.
Gastler pleaded not guilty to the crime in February, despite confessing to it in 2013.
The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 30, 2013, outside Auxvasse. Gastler, 22 at the time, called authorities at 12:58 a.m. to report finding two of his neighbors lying on the ground covered in blood, according to a press release at the time from the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office. Upon arrival, deputies found Zachary W. O’Connor, 30, dead on arrival and his father, Michael W. O’Connor, 57, in critical condition. Gastler was taken into custody, accused of beating the father and son.
Three days later, the sheriff’s office said Gastler admitted to assaulting his neighbors as he was facing felony charges of second-degree murder and first degree assault for the incident that occurred in the 1000 block of Blue Ridge Road. On Feb. 13, Gastler, now 23, was indicted on those charges. On Feb. 24, Gastler pleaded not guilty to the murder and assault charges, which Wilson said was not unusual despite an alleged confession.
On Feb. 21, 2013, Gastler pleaded guilty to domestic assault in Montgomery County for an incident that occurred in September 2012 and on the same day pleaded guilty for driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County for an incident in January 2013.
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