Autopsy Raises Questions in Callaway Co. Homicide

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - Court documents Tuesday revealed details about a weekend homicide. Monday, the medical examiner completed a preliminary autopsy on the body of Zachery O'Connor. The man charged with O'Connor's death, Jake Gastler, was still in jail as of Tuesday morning.

In the documents, Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane said Gastler admitted he assaulted both O'Connor and his father, Michael during an incident Saturday at the O'Connor residence in Auxvasse.

Gastler claims to have fought with Zachery at the O'Connor's home which resulted in Gastler punching Zachery in the head, causing blunt head trauma. Gastler admitted that neither Zachery or Michael struck or injured him. Sheriff Crane confirmed there was alcohol present at the scene.

Sheriff Crane said the medical examiner will do a more in depth autopsy that will take up to several weeks. Jake Gastler is in custody in Callaway County suspected of killing his neighbor and and assaulting the victim's father. Gastler initially reported finding the victims outside of their homes and having no prior knowledge of how the victims were injured.

Sheriff's deputies found Zachery dead at the scene and University Hospital confirmed Michael O'Connor was in serious condition as of Tuesday morning.

Previous to the incident, Gastler also pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic assault in the third degree in February of this year in Montgomery county. He was placed on supervised probation with a 270 day suspended jail sentence.

Gastler is facing second degree murder and first degree assault for Saturday's incident.

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