UPDATE 2/8/23 — One of the two men charged with the murder of a fellow Great Circle behavioral facility resident in St. James was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Cody B. Armistead, who was 17 at the time of the 2020 murder, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for one count of first-degree murder and four additional years for abandonment of a corpse. Armistead began his sentence on Jan. 20.

Armistead’s accomplice, Enoch Phillips, who was 18 at the time of the murder, is still progressing through his case. Phillips’ case was suspended due to a mental evaluation but he still faces one felony charge of first-degree murder.

Original story, published Sept. 21, 2020:

ST. JAMES, Mo. — Two teenagers have been charged after they ran away with a third person from Great Circle, and that person did not return.

According to court documents, 18-year-old Enoch Phillips and 17-year-old Cody Armistead have been charged with first-degree murder.

A probable cause statement says Phillips, Armistead, and another person named CH ran away from Great Circle in St. James Wednesday. On Thursday, Phillips and Armistead returned, and CH did not. The two told staff they did not know where CH was.

Armistead later told two other Great Circle clients that he and Phillips killed CH. One of those clients gave that information to authorities. Later Thursday, authorities went to interview Armistead and Phillips, but they did not share CH’s whereabouts.

Friday, Phelps County investigators returned and interviewed Armistead, and he said Phillips had strangled CH until he died. Armistead then took the investigators to where CH’s body was. Armistead took the investigators to an area at the 600 block of North Meramec Street, about three miles from Great Circle.

Court documents say when they arrived at CH’s location, investigators found his body in an open field. Armistead was then sent to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office for an interview.

“Armistead jokingly said they could kill him and no one would know. Phillips agreed and said no one would find him. Armistead said Phillips struck CH first with a closed fist. They struck him several times on the ground. Both Phillips and Armistead took turns strangling CH while he was on his back until he was deceased,” court documents say.

Phillips was taken to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Office and gave the same information to investigators. Armistead has a criminal history involving one pending charge for second-degree assault.