KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man used the light from a headlamp he was wearing to see and methodically shoot and kill a pregnant woman and two other people in a mobile home, authorities alleged Tuesday in charging him with four counts of first-degree murder.
Brian D. Williams waived his arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the slayings that happened last Friday near Ozark in southwestern Missouri. Williams, who was ordered jailed without bond, is charged in the shooting deaths of 27-year-old James Marsh; Marsh’s 26-year-old girlfriend, Casey Maples; and 40-year-old Christina Winden.
He’s also accused of killing Maples’ unborn child, which a pathologist said was 7 or 8 weeks old.
A public defender assigned to represent Williams declined comment Tuesday. Christian County Prosecutor Amy Fite also would not discuss the case.
Authorities have not revealed a motive for the killings or Williams’ possible connection to the victims, though Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Daniel Nash said in a probable cause statement that Williams once lived at the mobile home and went there the morning of the slayings in a pickup truck he stole the previous day.
Nash said Williams, 25, of southwestern Missouri’s Sparta, knew the home’s occupants were sleeping when he forced his way inside and used the light from his headlamp to go room to room.
The sergeant said Williams later admitted he awakened Marsh and Maples in a bedroom, told them not to move and placed his pistol against Maples’ head before pulling the trigger. But the gun failed to fire.
Williams then shot both Marsh and Maples and kicked in a door to another bedroom, where he fatally shot Winden in the head, Nash said.
“Williams advised that as he went back down the hall, he heard noises coming from the other bedroom, so he went back in the room and found Marsh was still gasping for air,” Nash wrote in the probable cause statement. “Williams advised that he was surprised by this, so he shot him again to make sure that he would die.”
Williams searched the mobile home for wallets and fled in the stolen pickup truck that he later tried to destroy by fire, discarding the gun along the way, according to Nash.
Christian County Sheriff Joey Kyle has said a fourth person who lived at the mobile home found the bodies hours later after returning from work.
Nash said in the probable cause statement that Williams remarked that he knew Maples was pregnant and that he “wished that the fourth person had also been at home, as he would have killed him as well.”
In addition to facing four counts each of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, Williams also is charged with tampering with a motor vehicle and theft of a semi-automatic handgun. Authorities say the gun was from the stolen pickup.
He was charged the day after the slayings with possession of meth-making chemicals and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. He also has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
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