Columbia man held in fatal stabbing

The suspect’s relation to the victim is being investigated.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:20 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

A 32-year-old former Columbia man was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the stabbing of a 45-year-old man from Kansas City, Kan.

Thomas Lipp was found Tuesday in the Edwards area near the Lake of the Ozarks with wounds from an ice pick.

Joseph Paul Watson was held Wednesday in the Camden County Jail with bond set at $750,000.

According to a Camden County Sheriff’s Department news release, Watson accompanied a woman and her 17-year-old son to the woman’s lake property, where the stabbing occurred on route FF 33.

Lipp was also staying at the woman’s lake property.

Capt. Gary Bowling of the Camden County Sheriff’s Department said that the relationship between the individuals was still being investigated.

Camden County Sheriff John W. Page said Lipp was stabbed after “a verbal altercation that occurred between the female who owns the property and the victim.”

Early Tuesday morning, a 911 call was made from a pay phone at an area convenience store. Page said Watson made the emergency call, which was initially routed to the Benton County Sheriff’s Department.

“We got the call but it (the homicide) occurred in Camden County,” Benton County Sheriff Gary Friar said. “They just happened to call us.”

The Benton County Sheriff’s Department notified the Camden County Sheriff’s Department of the homicide at 6:50 a.m.

Bowling said when authorities reached Watson, they “recovered an ice pick in the car with the suspect.”

Bowling described an ice pick as “a four-inch long, thin spike with a handle.”

Lipp’s body was taken to Springfield, Mo., for an autopsy.

As of Wednesday, Bowling said there were no other suspects in the case.

If Watson is convicted of first-degree murder, he will face life in prison or the death penalty.

According to Boone County court records, Watson lived with his ex-wife, Karen Watson, in Columbia as recently as December, when she filed an order of protection against him.

On April 24, Joseph Watson pleaded guilty to two counts of violating an order of protection and one count of third-degree domestic assault.

According to court records, Watson was sentenced to 23 days in jail for the domestic assault conviction, and he was placed on two years of supervised probation for the protective order violations.

Missourian reporter Lydia Wallace contributed to this story.

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