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Man who cooperated no longer faces murder charge in Webster County

Alfred Clevenger, Kevin Layton and Dewayne Layton were charged last February with killing Billy Harris of Springfield

January 18, 2013|by Gene Hartley | ghartley@schurz.com

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- The Webster County prosecuting attorney dropped a murder charge against one of three men charged with killing a man from Springfield a year ago.  Alfred Clevenger of Rogersville is now charged with abandonment of a corpse and two counts of tampering with evidence but no longer is charged with second-degree murder.

Someone shot Billy Harris and hid his body in a wooded area near Rogersville last January.  Investigators were told Dewayne Layton shot Harris in the face during a dispute over a truck.  They believe Clevenger and Kevin Layton were present, as well as a woman who was kept against her will and threatened to be shot, at the murder at the Laytons’ home on Corner Road near Rogersville.

After the murder, detectives were told, the men moved the body, buried the .22-caliber handgun at a cemetery in Christian County, and burned some of the bloody evidence from the home, including a mattress and carpeting.  All three men were charged last February.  Dewayne Layton fled to Arizona, where he was arrested in May.

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Webster County Roye Cole said last February that Clevenger had cooperated with his deputies after he was arrested.  Cole said Clevenger showed them where the handgun was buried and where Harris’ body was dumped across Highway B from a home north of Rogersville.  Clevenger’s bond is set at $250,000 after the new set of charges was filed on Friday.

Kevin Layton was tried in Buffalo on a change of venue in December.  A Dallas County jury convicted him of second-degree murder and armed criminal action but couldn't reach a decision on felonious restraint.  Sentencing is set for March 4 but the judge will hear arguments before sentencing on Layton's motion for a new trial.

Dewayne Layton, charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action, is scheduled for trial in Marshfield on April 8.

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