Auxvasse man arrested in homicide, assault; 1 victim still 'critical'

Saturday, August 31, 2013 | 2:20 p.m. CDT; updated 4:20 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 31, 2013

COLUMBIA — Callaway County sheriff's deputies arrested an Auxvasse man early Saturday on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Deputies said they arrested Jake O. Gastler, 22, of Auxvasse, in the death of Zachery W. O'Connor, 30, and the assault of Michael W. O'Connor, 57, both of Auxvasse, according to a Callaway County Sheriff's Office news release.

Responders arrived at 1091 Blue Ridge Road, about 33 miles east of Columbia, at 12:58 a.m. Saturday after Gastler reported finding two of his neighbors — Zachery and Michael O'Connor — lying on the ground and covered in blood.

Gastler said he found the victims in that condition; however, police said investigators found his story to be inconsistent and arrested him. He has been jailed and is being held on $700,000 bond, according to the press release.

Upon arrival, deputies determined that Zachery O'Connor was already dead and his father, Michael, was critically injured. Michael O'Connor was taken by helicopter to University Hospital and, as of 1:47 p.m., remained in critical condition, University Hospital house manager Marilyn Henshaw said.

Zachery O'Connor's autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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