Callaway County man pleads guilty to 2013 murder
FULTON - A Callaway County man accused of beating his neighbor to death pleaded guilty to murder and assault charges Monday.
Jake Gastler was accused of beating two neighbors, Michael and Zachary O'Connor, outside their home near Auxvasse in August 2013. Callaway County Sheriff's deputies said Gastler made a 9-1-1 call and said he found the two covered in blood and lying outside their home. Zachary O'Connor was pronounced dead at the scene. Michael O'Connor was airlifted to Columbia and recovered following reconstructive surgery to his face.
Neighbors who witnessed the beating said Gastler used a bat. Gastler admitted only to punching Michael O'Connor repeatedly and getting in a fight with Zachary.
Gaslter originally pleaded not guilty during a hearing in Feb. 2014.
Gaslter had a trial set for Tuesday, but was instead sentenced Monday following his guilty plea. Gastler was sentenced to 17 years in prison for second-degree murder and first degree assault. A second assault charge against him was dropped. He was given credit for time already served.