Three men have been charged with second-degree murder after a fatal shooting in the Calwood area of Callaway County in what authorities say was a methamphetamine deal.
Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Wilson charged Justin Witt, 47 and William Schoening-Scoggins, 23, both of Fulton, and Joey Morris, 28, of Vandalia, on Tuesday in the death of Nathan Dean Pritchett Jr., 29, of Fulton, the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The shooting happened early Tuesday on County Road 136, east of Route JJ, south of Calwood, the sheriff’s office said. When deputies arrived at about 2:40 a.m. they found Pritchett dead in the road, according to the release.
Investigators believe Schoening-Scoggins, Witt and Morris had arranged to buy meth from Pritchett using counterfeit money, according to a probable cause statement. Schoening-Scoggins and Witt said during interrogation that Pritchett threatened to use what they believed was a gun after an argument ensued over the fake money, the statement says. Witt then shot Pritchett with a .20-gauge shotgun.
Pritchett suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. It wasn’t clear from the documents whether Pritchett had a gun.
Deputies found Morris and Schoening-Scoggins later that morning at a residence in Fulton. Witt was found that afternoon at a residence on County Road 410 southeast of Fulton. A SWAT team helped take him into custody, the sheriff’s office said.
Witt was charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, unlawful gun possession, forgery and attempted theft of a controlled substance and was in the Callaway County Jail on Wednesday without bond.
Morris faces charges of second-degree murder, forgery, attempted theft of a controlled substance and drug possession and was in the Callaway County Jail on Wednesday on no bond.
Schoening-Scoggins was jailed without bond on second-degree murder, forgery, attempted theft of a controlled substance and attempted possession of a controlled substance charges.
The sheriff of Callaway County, Clay Chism, said the investigation is still open and more charges and arrests could be made. But he also mentioned that they believe all those involved in the shooting are in custody, “We are not searching for anyone. Everybody who was involved has been accounted for. We do not believe there’s any risk to the community safety.”
Chism said they have been working on reducing the amount of drug related crimes in their community, “We’re fighting drugs very hard in this county because know that drugs drive crimes, so many other crimes, violent crimes.”
Chism mentioned that are trying to stop these types of incidents from happening, “As far as I’m concerned as sheriff of Callaway County, what we saw yesterday morning morning is another example of what drugs do to the community.”
He said that he believes that they should be focused on drug related crimes, even though some people in office disagree, “It’s almost an embarrassment that we have people in legislative roles, and just roles of authority, who are professing that drugs are non violent offences, and that law enforcement should devote their resources elsewhere,” Chism stated. “I absolutely refuse to accept that, and I don’t believe that to be fact.”