Man from Winona is charged for 2 murders in Texas County

The probable cause statement gives details about the men's deaths.

April 22, 2013|by Mike Landis, KY3 News |

HOUSTON, Mo. -- The Texas County prosecuting attorney charged a man from Winona for the murders of two men whose bodies were found near their burned home on Wednesday night.  Jonathan Foster, 24, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and two counts of shooting a firearm from a vehicle.

The victims were James Winton, 37, and a 42-year-old man identified by the Houston Herald as Doug Dearman, whose name was not released on Friday because his relatives were not yet notified.   Their bodies were found outside a home that burned on Curran Road near the community of Clear Springs, a rural area between Houston and Mountain View.  Firefighters got a call about a fire at the home about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. 

Firefighters found the body of the 42-year-old man "a short distance from the house across a barbed wire fence," according to a news release from the Texas County Sheriff's Department.   Winton's body was found a short time later just outside the home.


Investigators also found that a pickup belonging to Winton was missing.  Later, they learned Foster "admitted to several people that he killed" the men with a .22-caliber rifle and burned their home, according to the probable cause statement. 

Foster also admitted he "burned a very expensive truck east of Birch Tree," according to that statement.  The Shannon County Sheriff's Department found that truck engulfed in flames.

The bodies were sent to Springfield for autopsies and to confirm the identities of the men.  One body was burned so badly that it was unrecognizable at the scene.

Officers arrested Foster at 1 a.m. Thursday at a home in Doniphan.   During an interview there, the probable cause statement says, Foster said he got a ride to the home of Winton and his roommate, that he got a rifle there and shot the two men, and then struck one of them in the head.

Foster told officers that he then set the home on fire and stole the pickup and about $1,500 in cash, according to the probable cause statement.  He said he then drove it to a place east of Birch Tree, where he set it on fire.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol, State Fire Marshal's Office, and sheriff's departments in Shannon and Ripley counties helped with the investigation.

Winton was the owner of secondhand stores in the area -- Salvage Groceries and More stores in Mountain View and Thayer, and Ken's Goodstuff store in Winona, according to records at the Missouri Secretary of State's Office.   The sheriff says he believes Foster worked for Winton from time to time.

Foster was in the Texas County jail on Friday.

 Texas County Sheriff James Sigman wouldn't say if someone else might be charged for driving Foster to the home where the men were killed, or for giving him a ride from Birch Tree to Doniphan.

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