By CHRIS BLANK and DAVID A. LIEB
FULTON, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri man was charged with murder Friday after a series of fatal shootings that led police to warn people who knew him to flee the area.
Joshua William Maylee, 23, was captured Thursday, ending a massive manhunt that unnerved residents and led to tighter security at schools and a hospital.
Maylee is accused of fatally shooting Eugene Allen Pinet, 48, and his 57-year-old wife, Jackie, at their home in central Missouri 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.
Maylee faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault.
Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler, of the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, told reporters Friday that he did not know if Maylee had retained an attorney. Bruchsaler said Maylee had not requested a lawyer while being interviewed by investigators.
Bruchsaler said that Maylee was being held without bond on the murder charges and was to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
In a probable cause statement filed Friday, police described Maylee as an associate of Jeff Werdehausen and Eugene Allen Pinet. Gina Werdehausen – who was hospitalized after being shot in the neck – told police she and her husband “had a number of problems with Maylee and that lately threats had been made,” according to the probable cause statement.
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.
Police said in Friday’s probable cause statement that shell casings recovered at the two shooting scenes matched those found at a home where Maylee had been living with a girlfriend and had come from the same type of assault rifle and handgun that Maylee was known to own.
Bruchsaler said family members found the Pinets’ bodies just as law officers investigating the shooting of the Werdehausens arrived to check on them because they had had past dealings with Maylee.
“Our investigators were following up leads and going and checking on people that we knew could possibly have been involved in this, and there it was,” Bruchsaler.
Investigators believe that Maylee acted alone.
Bruchsaler said they had interviewed Maylee but declined to discuss the details of the conversation. He said they had a “very good idea” about the location of a car and weapons that they had been seeking, but did not elaborate.
In addition to the murder charges, Maylee is also facing two felony theft charges – one of which was filed after the shooting victims were found early Wednesday morning. According to a police probable cause statement in that case, Maylee stole a lawn mower from a home in Kingdom City on Oct. 15, 2009. He told police in a July 20 interview that he put the lawn mower in an enclosed trailer and took it to Pinet’s home. It is not clear from court documents whether Pinet knew the mower was stolen.
Maylee also was charged with theft on Oct. 4 for allegedly stealing a tractor from a Holts Summit resident on March 24, 2009. A police probable cause statement says 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.
Maylee’s grandfather told police that Maylee had gone to Columbia earlier on the day of the shootings to meet with an attorney, who was not identified in the police probable cause statement. William Maylee said his grandson also had been at his home, and left about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the grandfather’s car, the court documents said. The grandfather had expected Maylee to return the car the next day, but he never did.
Maylee was captured Thursday in Cooper County, a few dozen miles west of where the shootings occurred.