Zalma man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Russell Mayberry

Russell Mayberry, of Zalma, Missouri, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in front of Judge Michael Gardner in Jackson.

Mayberry, 32, agreed to a deal with Bollinger County Prosecuting Attorney Heath Robins, capping his potential sentence at 12 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and dismissing armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence charges.

As a part of the deal, a Wayne County charge of abandonment of a corpse and Bollinger County charges of hindering the prosecution of a felony and tampering with physical evidence case were dismissed against Russell Mayberry's father, Roger Mayberry, 61, of Zalma.

Although unrelated to the charges against Russell Mayberry, the case against his wife, Brandi L. Mayberry, 33, of Zalma, for possession of a controlled substance also was dismissed.

Russell Mayberry told Gardner he shot and killed Kenneth L. Willard, 53, of Bismark, Missouri, in Bollinger County. Mayberry did not say when he shot Willard.

Law-enforcement officers found Willard's body in the Black River in Wayne County on Jan. 24, 2015, according to a probable-cause statement filed in the case by Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper J.L. Weadon.

Willard had been missing since Oct. 28, 2014, according to a debit-card record, Weadon wrote.

Roger Mayberry told Highway Patrol Sgt. J.S. Stoelting about Willard's killing in an interview Feb. 1, 2015, according to the statement.

Roger Mayberry said Willard and his son were helping him at a sawmill, Weadon wrote.

Roger Mayberry walked away and heard a gunshot. When he returned, he saw that Willard was dead, according to the statement. Russell Mayberry said he shot Willard because he thought Willard might kill him over drugs, according to the statement.

Roger and Brandi Maybbery later helped Russell load Willard's body into the back of an enclosed trailer, Weadon wrote.

Roger and Russell Mayberry helped dump the body near the Black River Bridge near Williamsville, Missouri, according to the statement.

Gardner ordered a sentencing-assessment report and a sentencing hearing scheduled for Feb. 21.

Two of Willard's family members attended the hearing Tuesday but declined to comment.

(573) 388-3644

Pertinent address: Zalma, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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