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Two men are charged with killing teen from Republic over recent teasing

December 16, 2011|by Dustin Hodges, KY3 News |

AVA, Mo. -- The Douglas County prosecutor charged Christopher Jorgensen of Ava on Thursday with fatally beating and stabbing Kenny Stout. Twenty-four hours later, he charged Nathan Jensen of Seymour with helping Jorgensen kill Stout.

Jorgensen, 29, and Jensen, 26, are charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and abandonment of a corpse.   Investigators heard in a roundabout way that Jorgensen said he did it because Stout gave Jensen "a hard time a couple of weeks ago."

The charges came after at least four people were questioned about Stout's death on Thursday.  Stout, 17, lived in Republic with his parents, but grew up in Ava.  He was visiting friends in the Ava area when he disappeared on Tuesday afternoon.  His body was found in a wooded area off County Road 501 near Ava early Thursday.

According to the probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges against Jorgensen, Stout texted a friend about 4 p.m. Tuesday and said he met Jensen at a convenience store in Ava.  At 10:30 Tuesday night, Jensen told an Ava police officer that he didn't know Stout.  Sheriff Chris Degase wrote in the probable cause statement that he "obtained cell phone records on Kenny Stout's phone and on Nathan Jensen's phone.  Both records show numerous contacts on (Tuesday) between one another."


On Wednesday night, Jensen changed his story.  He told Degase that Jorgensen drove him out to the site of the murder on Tuesday night but didn't admit participating in it.  Investigators believe Jorgensen beat Stout between sometime between 4 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and then returned, found him still alive, and stabbed him to death about 11 p.m.  Jensen told the sheriff that "Jorgensen parked the car on the road and walked into the woods.  He returned about 15 minutes later, wiping his hands," the probable cause statement says.

Jensen told Degase on Wednesday night that Jorgensen drove him to a home north of Cabool after they left the murder scene, the probable cause statement says, "to reportedly burn some of (Jorgensen's) clothes that he had worn when he killed Kenny Stout.  They later arrived at the residence where (Jorgensen) asked (Jensen) to bend over and use his cell phone to illuminate a lock that (Jorgensen) needed to open.

"(Jorgensen) then placed a gun against (Jensen's) head," the probable cause statement says Jensen told the sheriff.  "(Jensen) then heard 2 'clicks' that appeared to be a gun misfiring.  (Jensen) suspected (Jorgensen) was trying to kill him and used the opportunity to run away on foot.  (Jenthen heard a gunshot as he ran away.  He managed to get to the Texas County Sheriff's Office and told what happened."

A deputy arrested Jorgensen at his home in Ava.  Jensen then led Degase to Stout's body, which had seven stab wounds to the back, another to the right chest, and a shallow cut on the neck.  The body's face also was swollen as if Stout had been beaten.

On Thursday, a state trooper interviewed James Watson and his fiancee, Cheryl Calhoun.  The trooper said Watson "was somewhat evasive," the probable cause statement says, but Calhoun told the trooper about a conversation between Jorgensen and Watson in which Jorgensen said he killed Stout.  In that conversation, which Calhoun heard about from Watson, Jorgensen said he was going to hide Jensen some place because he didn't think Jensen "could handle it."

In the interview with the trooper, Watson eventually said he knew about Jorgensen trying to shoot Jensen in the head but the gun didn't fire, and then shooting at Jensen as Jensen fled.

"Calhoun stated Jorgensen killed Kenny Stout because he was giving (Watson) a hard time a couple of weeks ago," the probable cause statement says Watson told the trooper.

Degase interviewed Jensen again on Thursday and says his story changed again.

"(Jorgensen) walks into the woods and is gone about 15 mins. . . . (Jorgensen) returns and has a brown handle knife that belongs to his son Pat.  (Jensen) states that (Jorgensen) wipes his hands on his clothes to remove an unknown matter.   (Jensen) states that they both rturn to (Jorgensen's) residence where (Jorgensen) changes his clothes and puts them in a garbage bag and leaves with them."

Prosecuting Attorney Roger Wall's charging statement says Jorgensen was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in Wright County in 2001 and stealing in Howell County, also in 2001.  Under Missouri law, that would enhance his punishment if he's convicted of the murder because he would be sentenced as a "prior and persistent offender."

Jorgensen made his first appearance in court on the murder charge late Friday morning.  A judge told him to come back to court on Jan. 3 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.  He's being held in the Douglas County jail with no bond, and likely will be represented by a public defender.

It's not clear if Jensen appeared in court on Friday afternoon.  Douglas County Circuit Clerk Kim Hathcock said she couldn't comment on his case or release the probable cause statement against Jensen until she'd received the signed warrant from the sheriff's department indicating Jensen had been served. She said the probable cause statement wouldn't be available to reporters until Monday.  Degase said in a news release, however, that Jensen also was in custody with no bond.

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