Murder charges filed against a PA. man and CA. woman in Phelps County homicide

Local News

Courtesy: Phelps County Sheriff’s Office

PHELPS COUNTY, Mo.- A man from Pennsylvania and a woman from California have been charged in the death of a man at a motel in St. James.

Court records say 20-year-old Josue Martinez of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, has been charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Two counts of armed criminal action
  • First-degree robbery
  • First-degree tampering with a motor vehicle

Also charged is 30-year-old Kimberly Riston of Banning, California. She has been charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Two counts of armed criminal action
  • First-degree robbery
  • First-degree tampering with a motor vehicle

According to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office, around 8 a.m. on April 21, officers responded to the Economy Inn in St. James in response to a man found dead. The Department says the man was found in the parking lot with knife wounds. The man has been identified as 36-year-old Donald Coy Wethy Jr. of St. James.

Martinez and Riston were arrested Wednesday by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and are being held in the Phelps County Jail without bond.

Court documents say on April 21, Martinez was seen stabbing Wethy on surveillance footage from the motel. Just moments before the stabbing, the footage showed Martinez and Riston talking then hugging and taking something from her pocket and putting it in his. During an interview with investigators, Riston said that was the knife used to stab Wethy.

The Probable Cause statement says after the two went into a motel room, Martinez comes out and is seen later walking to Wethy and cornering him between two doors of a car. A few moments later after Riston comes to meet the men, Martinez stabs Wethy and Wethy tries to run away but trips over a dog Riston had with her. Martinez then continues to stab the man 12 more times then sees he’s not moving and proceeds to search his pockets.

Court records say the two went into Wehty’s car looking for something but were unable to and proceed to leave and walk away leaving Wethy dead in the parking lot.

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