Callaway County Sheriff's Office Charges Man with Murder, Assault

Posted: Aug 31, 2013 11:08 AM by Jen Lask, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
Updated: Aug 31, 2013 9:06 PM

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The Callaway County Sheriff's Office is investigating a murder and assault after receiving an initial report of an assault early Saturday morning.

Sheriff's deputies responded to an apparent assault at approximately 12:58 a.m. at a home located off of State Road B east of Auxvasse. According to a report from Sheriff Dennis Crane, a neighbor, Jake Gastler, reported finding two of his next-door neighbors lying on the ground covered with blood.

Deputies found one victim, 30-year-old Zachary W. O'Connor, was already dead at the time of their arrival. The other victim, 57-year-old Michael W. O'Connor (Zachary's father), was taken to the University of Missouri Hospital by helicopter. He remains in critical condition.

Initially, Gastler told deputies he found the victims in this condition. However, the deputies' investigation showed inconsistencies in Gastler's story. Deputies then arrested Gastler and charged him with 2nd-degree murder and 1st-degree assault. Gastler is being held at the Callaway County Jail on a $700,000 bond.

An autopsy for Zachary W. O'Connor is scheduled for September 2, 2013.

Editor's note: This story has been edited to clarify the source of the information reported.

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