A Missouri man murdered his girlfriend’s possible killers by shooting them to death, authorities say.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Feb. 20, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office found the charred body of Brylee O’Banion, 25, dumped in a ditch and began processing the scene as a homicide.
According to the sheriff’s office, detectives identified two persons of interest in the case who may have been with the victim shortly before her death — Mason McClure and Nicole Hodges, both 34.
The following day, Feb. 21, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office dispatched deputies to check out a residence in Avilla, Missouri, where a man and woman were found deceased. Preliminary autopsy results showed the two died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Believing the homicides were connected, law enforcement officials from Jasper and Newton counties began working together and confirmed the pair were the persons of interest in O’Banion’s death.
Deputies arrested O’Banion’s boyfriend, Kevin C. Johnson, 24, before dawn on Feb. 22.
A probable cause affidavit shows Johnson went to McClure and Hodges’ home to see his girlfriend on Feb. 20, the day after she likely died, according to Wichita’s KSN-TV.
“When he arrived, he was told by Mason McClure that McClure and Hodges had killed Obanion,” the document reportedly reads. “At this time, Johnson stated that he was asked to go to the garage and help McClure with something. Johnson drew a firearm he had taken from his father's residence and started shooting. McClure was shot in the back and Hodges fell away bleeding. Hodges also died from her wounds on scene.”
Johnson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action, according to KSN.
“There are no other suspects being sought at this time,” JCSO Sheriff Randee Kaiser said in a statement.
Investigators determined Johnson’s girlfriend, O’Banion, was strangled and moved to the ditch and her body set on fire.
While Johnson is alleged to have slayed McClure and Hodges to avenge O’Banion’s death, the motive for her murder remains “up in the air,” Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings said.
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