UPDATE 12/5 — After four days of trial, a jury found Christopher English guilty of first-degree murder on Dec. 2.
Around Feb. 8, 2019, English shot and killed Aaron Brantley of Columbia. English’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2023.
Daniel Cole, who helped English dispose of evidence and is facing a felony count of abandonment of a corpse, has a pre-trial conference scheduled for 9 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2023.
The third suspect involved in the case, William G. Lucas, served a two-year sentence that began on June 23, 2020. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of tampering with physical evidence.
Original story, published March 11, 2019:
MILLER COUNTY, Mo. – Three men have been charged in connection to the shooting death of Aaron Brantley, a Columbia man who had been missing since February 8.
Christopher English, of Eldon, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse.
William Lucas, of Kaiser, and Daniel Cole, of Montreal, were charged with accessory to first-degree murder, accessory to armed criminal action and accessory to abandonment of a corpse.
Aaron Brantley was reportedly driving to the Osage Beach area to meet someone on February 8. Brantley’s wife said she last heard from him just before 4 p.m. that same day.
After a month-long investigation, Brantley’s body was found last week in a wooded area near Brumley.
Authorities say in early March a male came forward claiming he witnessed Brantley’s death.
The witness alleges he was in a garage on Lucas’ property in Miller County with Lucas, Cole and English. The witness says English went outside to meet up with Brantley. When English returned inside, he demanded everyone help him load Brantley’s body into the vehicle Brantley arrived in.
When the four of them went outside the witness says he saw Brantley had been shot and killed.
Probable cause statements say English drove Brantley’s vehicle to the location where Brantley was eventually discovered, followed by Lucas in a pickup truck. They then returned to Lucas’ property without Brantley’s body or vehicle.
The witness continued to say that he and Cole drove to a convenience store in Kaiser and bought three bottles of bleach. The bleach was then used in an attempt to destroy the crime scene. During this time, English and Lucas burned their clothes and Brantley’s phone.
A warrant has been issued for English and his bond set at $400,000. Court records show that Lucas and Cole were arraigned today on their charges and are being held on a $225,000 bond.