MEXICO - An Overland man was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for the 2017 death of Leon Wilder.
Richard Henry, 39, previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the incident.
Prosecutors say the shooting happened as a result of a drug deal gone wrong.
"Leon Wilder’s death shows what happens when someone values money, power
or status over another man’s life. A career criminal like Richard Henry, without regard for Leon
Wilder’s life, believed his money and reputation were worth more than Leon Wilder’s life, and
that’s sad," Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger said.
According to court documents, a passerby found Wilder in a ditch on Audrain County Road 997 with a gunshot wound to his head on July 6, 2017.
On July 7, witnesses told investigators they saw Wilder in an argument with two men over money at a Columbia motel the previous day. According to the witnesses, at one point the men forced Wilder into a pickup truck at gunpoint.
Investigators later found
blood in Henry's truck, along with evidence linking the truck to the scene where Wilder's body was found.
Shellabarger said Facebook activity, cell phone records, and an I-70 license plate reader helped investigators determine Henry's role in the shooting.
Two codefendants also agreed to testify against Henry in exchange for reduced charges.
Justin Traughber admitted to organizing the drug transaction between Henry and Wilder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking in the second degree.
Henry's ex-girlfriend, Arline Diedrich, admitted to helping Henry abandon Wilder's body and destroy evidence of the killing. She was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug trafficking in the second degree.
While awaiting trial, Henry claimed he was assaulted by Sheriff Matt Oller. In an email to an acquaintance, Henry wrote he was refused medical attention after Oller struck him, pushed him into a door, headbutted him, and threw him to the ground.
A Warren County special prosecutor determined those allegations were false.