LACLEDE COUNTY, Mo.- Court documents reveal what led to the death of a 23-year-old Lebanon man and how two soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood got involved.
Lebanon Police officers found Ethan Williams lying on the ground in front of his home in the 400 block of North Monroe Street on Friday, December 3. After life-saving attempts, Williams died from a fatal gunshot wound.
Court documents obtained by OzarksFirst detail what led to his death.
According to a probable cause statement, one of the three men arrested in the case, Blake R. Paulson, had just gotten married Friday around 6 p.m. Sometime after the wedding, Paulson and Zackary R. Gillis got a call from Williams asking for help to rob a couple of houses.
Paulson told his Army CID Special Agent about what happened. He stated that Williams’ brother knew people that had stuff for Paulson, Gillis, and Williams to sell. Court documents say Gillis and Williams planned on robbing the house of the supplier before going to the home where Williams was later shot at.
At the first home, the three kicked down the door to a trailer and no one was home. Paulson admitted to stealing an Xbox gaming console from the first house. They then moved to the next house. The three went into the home armed with a .45, AR15, and a Draco gun. Paulson told investigators that Williams and Gillis took marijuana and money that belonged to the person at the home. That person has been identified as a 16-year-old male by the Lebanon Police Department. He is being held at the Camden County Juvenile Justice Center for separate charges not related to this incident.
Court documents say when the three were leaving the home, the 16-year-old started shooting at them and shot Williams with a pistol. After the three got away, they drove to the 400 block of N. Monroe where Williams’ wife lived. Lebanon Police Officers talked with a man who had recorded video of what comes next.
In the video, a white car is seen pulling into a driveway and Gillis and Paulson get out and pull Williams out of the trunk of the car, placing him on the ground and leaving. Paulson and Gillis parted ways so Paulson could hide the weapon and a duffle bag used for the crimes in his girlfriend’s car in Rolla. Paulson then met Gillis in Crocker to turn themselves in to their sergeant.
Investigators later did find Paulson’s girlfriend’s car in Rolla with guns and zip ties.
Gillis and Paulson are both in custody facing second-degree murder and first-degree burglary. Both are currently being held at the Laclede County jail with no bond. They will appear in court on December 13 at 1:30 p.m.