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Prosecutor says new charges coming this week after Moberly shooting victim dies

Court documents related to fatal Moberly shooting reveal enraging property dispute

EDITOR'S NOTE: The date of the shooting, which was wrong because of a source error, has been corrected.


The Randolph County prosecutor said Monday that she will add new criminal charges this week against a man accused in a fatal Moberly shooting.

Randolph County prosecutor Stephanie Luntsford said new charges are expected against Jerry L. Fitzwater after the shooting victim's death. Fitzwater allegedly shot Mitchell Nickerson, 49, in the head last Thursday. Moberly police said Monday that Nickerson had died.

An autopsy is scheduled and additional criminal charges could be filed afterward, the Moberly Police Department said in a brief news release.

Court documents show Fitzwater first tried to evict his next door neighbor Margaret Lancaster in Oct. 2020, after she refused to leave when a verbal agreement fell through. The agreement claimed Lancaster would paint the house next to Fitzwater's, in exchange, Lancaster would live there, rent free, for a month.

Lancaster is disabled and Nickerson frequently visited her to help her out.

In May 2021, things started to fall apart and lawsuits got involved.

On May 14, Fitzwater tries to evict Lancaster for the second time.

A court date was set for June 17, however, Lancaster doesn't show up. The judge granted possession to Fitzwater by default. Lancaster is ordered to be out of the house on June 28 but she files an appeal and doesn't leave.

Luntsford charged Fitzwater on Friday with first-degree assault, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon after police found Nickerson with an apparent gunshot wound to the head in the 300 block of East Burkhart Street.

Officers said in court documents that they found a man lying in the street with a head wound when they arrived at the address. Police found Fitzwater leaving his residence and saw .22-caliber shells falling from his pocket after the shooting, according to a probable cause statement.

According to the probable cause statement, Fitzwater told police that he did not know who he shot but said he suspected drug sales were happening at the address where the shooting victim was working on a truck outside.

Moberly Police Department Chief Troy Link told ABC 17 News that the department had spoken with Fitzwater about his concerns prior to the shooting and asked for some evidence of the claims.

The probable cause statement says Fitzwater missed the first shot from the porch, hitting the truck Nickerson had been working on at the time. Fitzwater then walked into the street and shot Nickerson in the head, according to the statement. He allegedly told police that if they had not arrived so quickly he would have shot everyone in the victim's residence.

Fitzwater is being held without bond. He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

Article Topic Follows: Crime
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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