Suspects charged in connection to Columbia man found dead in Miller County

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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 Sheriff's Office announced they'd found Brantley's body in a wooded area, and that he died of a gunshot wound. The sheriff's 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 Sheriff's Office they had a person who told them he'd been involved in Brantley's 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 Brantley's vehicle.

Documents filed against Lucas said he admitted to knowing about Brantley's 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.

No court date has been set for English; Lucas and Cole have hearings set for April 8.