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Father of Benton County child killed given bond

James Mast
ABC 17 News
James Mast, center, enters a private room at the Benton County courthouse alongside his attorney, Scott Rosenblum (far left).


The father of a Benton County 4-year-old killed in December will have the chance to get out of jail ahead of trial.

Judge Mark Pilley set a $500,000 cash or surety bond for James Mast, 28, at a Tuesday morning hearing. The bond allows Mast to pay just 10 percent of the bond to qualify. Pilley set several conditions, including GPS monitoring and house arrest.

Mast's attorney, Scott Rosenblum of St. Louis, argued that Mast had no prior criminal history prior to this case. He said Mast would live with his brother, Ken Mast, and that his family would ensure Mast followed every rule of his release.

James Mast is one of four people accused of having a role in the death of his daughter, Jessica Mast and abuse of his younger son. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said in December that James Mast called them after finding his daughter dead in her room in rural Cole Camp. Deputies claim James and Mary Mast, parents to the girl, stood by and sometimes participated while neighbors Ethan Mast and Kourtney Aumen abused the family for weeks.

Rosenblum claimed that James Mast was both a victim and suspect in the case. The sheriff's office claims James Mast showed them bruises on his buttocks that he said came from others in the case. Mast is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Rodney Richardson said James Mast should remain in jail without bond.

"That family is missing one child right now," Richardson said.

Rosenblum told ABC 17 News after the hearing that he expects the case to go to trial.

Ethan Mast made his first court appearance on Tuesday. His attorney, Lacon Smith of Springfield, asked that investigators preserve all notes taken during the investigation. Pilley set his preliminary hearing for April 21, with attorneys expecting it to take half a day.

Court and Trials / Crime / Homicide / News

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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