SHANNON COUNTY, Mo. – A Shannon County man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the beating and strangling death of a Birch Tree woman. A second man was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Court documents state that Stanley Kenaga was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on a charge of first-degree murder. He also was sentenced to 15 years for burglary, seven years for stealing, seven years for arson and four years for abandonment of a corpse.

Stanley Kenaga

He pleaded guilty under a plea agreement in August and prosecutors withdrew a notice of intent to seek the death penalty, court records show.

Kenaga was charged in connection with the death of Barbara Lynn, 77. She was found dead in April 2020 in her burned home near Birch Tree.

A second suspect, Joseph Proffer, pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Joseph Proffer

During the investigation, a possible link was found between this residential fire and other recent fires and activity in the same vicinity. The investigation led authorities to arrests of Kenaga, now 33, and Proffer, now 26.

According to a probable cause statement, during the investigation, they found Barbara Lynn deceased in the hallway. An autopsy was conducted and results showed that Lynn was beaten and strangled to death.

The Missouri Highway Patrol conducted an interview with Kenaga who admitted he and Proffer had information that Lynn had withdrawn $20,000 from her account and she was keeping it in the residence.