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Questions remain in investigation into Columbia homicide, standoff


The suspect in a Monday homicide in a south Columbia neighborhood was found dead after a standoff with police Tuesday night.

As the police investigation into both the homicide and standoff continues, questions remain about what led up to these two incidents. No motive for the Monday shooting has been made public.

What happened this week

Janet Jago, 72, was found by police with a gunshot wound Monday afternoon at her home on East Tayside Circle. Police administered CPR, but Jago died at the hospital. Jago was the wife of Art Jago, a retired University of Missouri professor who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Columbia City Council's Fifth Ward.

Officers were originally sent to the house for a robbery in progress. Police said the Monday incident was "targeted," but when asked to specify what that means said they cannot comment further during the investigation.

For nine hours Tuesday, Columbia Police were in a standoff with a suspect in the homicide at Forest Village Apartments. After using gas and exchanging gunfire, the suspect was found dead with an with police say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police are still investigating exactly how the suspect died.

Police identified the suspect in the homicide as Jermaine Burnett.

A woman identifying herself as the suspect's sister told ABC 17 News she's skeptical of the police's claims that the gunshot wounds were self-inflicted.

Ongoing investigation

Columbia Police are releasing little information about the ongoing investigation into both the homicide and the standoff.

The University of Missouri Police Department is conducting an independent investigation into the standoff because officers exchanged gunfire with Burnett. MUPD said it does not have a timeline for the investigation or know whether the officers involved are suspended.

Columbia Police did not respond to questions, including how the department connected Burnett to Jago's death, but said a statement would be coming soon.

Suspect's history

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, Burnett was incarcerated from October 2009 to December 2012 and again from May 2014 to December 2022.

ABC 17 News acquired two recent probable cause statements involving Burnett, one on April 16 and one May 19. For those incidents, Burnett was accused of tampering with cars, property damage, domestic assault and resisting arrest by fleeing the scene.

On April 16, someone living in the 4000 block of South Ponderosa reported their car stolen. Police were able to track the car's location using On-Star and found Burnett with the car.

According to the probable cause statement, once Burnett saw police he drove away in the stolen car and crashed the car into a shed. He then ran into the woods where police caught up to and arrested him

A warrant was issued for Burnett after this incident. The Boone County prosecutor filed three felony charges against Burnett following this incident as well.

On May 19, a warrant was issued for Burnett after an alleged assault, according to a heavily redacted probable cause statement. The Boone County prosecutor charged Burnett with two felonies and a misdemeanor after this incident.

In 2014, Burnett was incarcerated for robbery and tampering with a witness, as well as having a weapon while in prison. He pleaded guilty to the robbery and witness tampering case out of the Kansas City area in 2014.

Prosecutors say he stole a ring from someone, then wrote them letters asking that they refuse cooperation with police. According to court documents, he was supposed to serve time until May 2019 with the option for parole.

However, while he was in the Moberly Correctional Facility, a search of his cell revealed a homemade weapon made out of a piece of a water heater. Burnett took a plea deal in this 2016 charge for 11 years, but he got out of prison earlier than that on parole.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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