COLUMBIA – Court documents filed in Miller County identified three men as suspects in connection with the death of Aaron Brantley.
Christopher English, William Lucas and Daniel Cole have each been charged. English, 41, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse. Lucas, 42, and Cole, 54, have each been charged with being an accessory to murder, being an accessory to armed criminal action, and conspiracy – abandonment of a corpse.
Brantley was reported missing in February by his wife, who said she last heard from him on February 8. At the time, friends told Becky Brantley that Aaron was going to the Lake of the Ozarks area.
On Friday, the Miller County Sheriffs Office announced theyd found Brantleys body in a wooded area, and that he died of a gunshot wound. The sheriffs office also said three people had been arrested and charged.
According to court documents, Aaron Brantley was planning to meet up English at a bowling alley in Kaiser. Becky reportedly called English after finding his number on their phone records. Documents said English told Becky he was supposed to meet Aaron, but Aaron never showed up.
On March 6, Osage Beach Police told the Miller County Sheriffs Office they had a person who told them hed been involved in Brantleys homicide. The witness said he was with Lucas and English at Lucas home on February 8, where English reportedly met Brantley. According to the witness, English came back and said he shot Brantley, then demanded everyone help load the body into Brantleys vehicle.
The bond for English was set at $400,000, while the bonds for Cole and Lucas were set at $225,000. Cole and Lucas had scheduled arraignment hearings scheduled for Monday morning. A court date for English had not yet been set.
Documents filed against Lucas said he admitted to knowing about Brantleys death, and helping to move the body. Receipts showed Lucas bought a tarp, work lights and lime, which can speed up the decomposition process.
Documents filed against Cole said he and the others bought and used materials to try and conceal the homicide.
MILLER COUNTY, Mo. – Three Miller County men have been charged in the death of a Columbia man who was reported missing last month.
Prosecutors on Friday charged Christopher W. English with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse in the death of Aaron Brantley, 41. William G. Lucas and Daniel Cole were charged with accessory to first-degree murder, accessory to armed criminal action and conspiracy to abandon a corpse. The Miller County Sheriff's Office said last week that Brantley's body was found in a wooded area near Brumley.
Brantley, who was reported missing Feb. 9, apparently died of a gunshot wound, the sheriff's office said.
According to a probable cause statement filed in Lucas' and Cole's cases, the two men helped move Brantley's vehicle and body after English shot him at a property on Blue Ridge Road in Miller County. They also helped burn Brantley's bloody clothes and cellphone and use bleach in an attempt to clean the crime scene, according to the statement.
A fourth man told investigators that the men were inside a building when English and Brantley went outside and English returned with a handgun without Brantley. The fourth man told investigators he saw Brantley's body under a tarp outside with a gunshot wound to the head.
The man told investigators that English drove Brantley's car from the scene and Lucas followed him in a pickup and that the two men returned to the Blue Ridge property together, according to the statement. The man said they went to a store in Kaiser and bought bleach to clean the ground where Brantley's body and blood had been.
Cole told investigators a large amount of methamphetamine was at a shop on the property Feb. 8, when the killing took place, according to the statement.
A probable cause statement filed in English's case says Brantley's wife reported him missing Feb. 9 after he had left to meet with someone named "Chris." Investigators determined Brantley was meeting English at a bowling alley in Kaiser, the document says.
English was being held on a $400,000 bond while the other two men were jailed on a $225,000 bond.