Poplar Bluff Contract Killing
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
Poplar Bluff, MO -- Two Southeast Missouri men sit behind bars, facing first degree murder charges in connection with the shooting death of a 17-year-old Poplar Bluff boy.
Lawrence Warren Junior's body was found in his pickup truck late Monday night.
Investigators say this wasn't an ordinary shooting, it was a carefully planned out contract killing.
Family members seemed more shocked than anyone else that their loved one could have been the target of such hatred.
They say they're very grateful to police for their efforts, even though they still don't understand exactly how the plot unfolded.
"I'm very shocked and it makes me think about the kind of friends he would be hanging around with," Warren's uncle Mark Gladney says.
Gladney says the break for police was a relief for his family.
Police arrested Derrick McFarland for allegedly hiring Travis Henderson to kill Warren, in exchange for drugs and cash.
Investigators say McFarland believed Warren had set him up in a robbery that happened earlier this year.
"He believed the victim in this homicide had somehow set him up for that robbery and he wanted revenge for that," Assistant Chief Gary Pride with the Poplar Bluff Police Department says.
Police say one of the key pieces of the puzzle fell into place here at a walmart store.
That's when a witness came forward and told investigators he had bought ammunition for two people he believed may have had a role in the deadly shooting.
"We also could track that individual as he left from inside the store out to the car that gave us the type of car he was in who was in it," Pride says.
Armed with forensic evidence and footage from the surveillance cameras, investigators tracked down the suspects, who then allegedly confessed to Warren's murder.
"The victim was shot twice once through the lower torso once through the head," Pride says.
Police reports say Henderson told investigators mcfarland watched as he pulled the trigger, just to make sure he did the job.
Some of Warren's family broke down as they listened to the chilling details in horror.
Now they say they hope justice will be done.
"Hopefully they'll never be able to hit the streets again this is the ridiculous killing of an innocent child hope this never happens to anyone," Gladney says.
Butler County Prosecutor Kevin Barbour explains if the men are found guilty of murder, they could spend life in prison or face the death penalty, but he hasn't quite decided what he plans to ask for just yet.
Police also say there could be other charges against other suspects involved in the case.