Court documents detail gruesome Callaway County murder

Documents: Victims did not try to fight back

AUXVASSE, Mo. - New court documents released Tuesday detail the gruesome murder of a Callaway County man and the assault of his father.

Zachery O'Connor, 30, of Auxvasses was found dead on Saturday and his father, 57-year-old Michael O'Connor, remained in serious condition at last report. University Hospital in Columbia says it can no longer provide updates on his condition.

The suspect in the murder and assault, Jake Gastler, is in jail and charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Authorities say Gastler called police telling them he found the men lying in blood, but deputies say his story did not add up.

Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane said, "When looking at his hands and fists, they were swollen, and it was apparent he was in an altercation.  He also told different stories to different people."

According to court documents, Gastler later admitted to assaulting Zachery O'Connor after a fight. He told deputies Zachery pulled his shirt during the dispute, which resulted in him reacting physically.

In the documents, Gastler says he punched Zachery in the head repeatedly, even though Zachery did not strike him or attempt to fight back. Gastler told authorities he attempted to perform CPR on Zachery after he believed he may be dying or dead.

The documents state Gastler then repeatedly punched Zachery's father, Michael, in the head. Gastler admitted Michael also did not try to fight back.

Callaway County prosecuting attorney Christopher Wilson would like to have Michael testify in court, if he is able to after his recovery.

Gastler remains in the Callaway County Jail on a $700,000 bond.

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