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Stoddard County murder suspects make first court appearance
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Two men being held for a Feb. 19 shooting death of 34-year-old Sean Crow of Bernie, Mo., made their initial court appearance Thursday before Judge Joe Z. Satterfield.
Security was heightened as Matthew Brandon Cook, 29, and Scott Evans, 46, both of Dexter, Mo., were led from the Stoddard County Jail to the Justice Center and back.
Cook and Evans each are charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count first-degree robbery, and two counts felony armed criminal action.
Cook was represented by a public defender. Evans had yet to secure an attorney; he is to be assigned a public defender.
Satterfield tentatively set April 19 for preliminary hearings for Cook and Evans. That date, he said, is subject to change based on the appointment of an attorney for Evans.
The two were formally charged Feb. 24 with Crow's murder after an investigation led by Stoddard County deputy Hank Trout, who serves as the commander of the Stoddard County Major Case Squad.
According to a probable-cause affidavit filed by Trout, Cook admitted to shooting Crow on the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in Advance, Mo. Video surveillance cameras at businesses in the area led authorities to the pair, according to court documents.
Investigators said that during an interrogation Cook admitted to having sent a text message, using a cellphone of a woman with whom Cook and Crow were acquainted, asking Crow to meet at the restaurant. Investigators believe Evans drove Cook to the restaurant parking lot, dropped Cook off behind the McDonald's, and then drove across the street as Cook approached Crow's vehicle on foot.
Trout's statement said Evans told police he witnessed Cook approach Crow's truck, and that Evans saw Crow slump over in the cab of the truck. According to the timeline established through video surveillance, the shooting took place at 7:12 p.m. Feb. 19. Crow's body was not discovered in his truck until late morning Feb. 20, dead of a single shot to the head from a .22-caliber pistol.
Investigators were told by at least one witness that Cook admitted to Crow's murder the evening of Feb. 19. Cook was said to have visited an acquaintance in Dexter, where he burned a set of clothes. Police said they recovered buttons and rivets in the ashes of a wood stove at that person's Dexter home.
Cook reportedly told police he acted alone. Both men face identical charges.
No bond has been set for Cook. A $250,000 cash-only bond has been set for Evans.