A suspect in the October 2016 killing of a Boonville man in Moberly has taken a plea deal for life in prison.
Prosecutors charged 28-year-old Joseph Lee Kertz of Moberly with first-degree murder, accessory to robbery, second-degree arson, accessory to promoting prostitution and armed criminal action following the death of Kevin Glenn McCuiston, who was 39 at the time of his death.
Randolph County attorney Mike Fusselman said during a hearing Tuesday in Randolph County Court on the eve of an impending jury trial, Kertz plead guilty to first-degree murder charge and Judge Terry Tschannen sentenced him to life in prison.
“As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution dismissed the remaining charges,” Fusselman said “During the course of the sentencing, the State introduced written testimony from the victim’s wife and two children, who reside out of state. The defense also tendered a statement on behalf of the defendant.”
Kertz was represented by public defender Edward Guinn, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Two other people, Ethan W. Longbine, 27, of Moberly, and Brittney Lynn Bowen, 26, of Salisbury, were charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action also in the death of McCuiston.
Both accepted plea deals earlier in the year for a charge of attempted robbery in exchange for their testimony. A sentencing hearing is pending.
“Two of the co-defendants, Ethan Linebaugh and Brittany Bowen, previously entered pleas of guilty for their roles in the homicide and proffered testimony that would have been used in the prosecution of Kertz had he chosen to go to trial,” Fusselman said. “Judge Tschannen will schedules dates for their sentencing in July or August, 2018.”
According to court documents, the trio allegedly conspired to rob McCuiston by having Bowen offer him sex in exchange for money at a Calhoun Street residence.
Bowen told authorities that after Kertz and Longbine entered the residence, she left and heard two gunshots.
Longbine also told authorities he also left before McCuiston was killed, saying he was afraid.
McCuiston's body was reportedly discovered with a gunshot wound after the Moberly Fire Department put out a fire in a residence.