By MARGARET STAFFORD, Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge entered a not guilty plea Friday for the man accused in the killing of a western Missouri police officer during a traffic stop.
Ian McCarthy, 39, of Clinton appeared via video at the Henry County Courthouse to answer charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Officer Gary Michael in Clinton. McCarthy’s next court appearance was scheduled for Oct. 20.
Investigators say Michael was killed when the driver of a car he stopped for a traffic violation Sunday jumped out and shot him. The suspect drove away, crashing a few blocks from the scene of the shooting then fleeing on foot. Michael was able to return fire. McCarthy was arrested walking on a road after a two-day manhunt.
Michael, 39, was the first police officer killed in the line of duty in Clinton, a town of about 9,000 residents about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City. His visitation was scheduled in Clinton Friday and the funeral will be Saturday.
A second man, William Noble, 35, of Clinton, was charged Thursday with felony tampering with evidence after prosecutors alleged he supplied the weapon used to kill Michael.
According to a police probable cause statement, Noble began “fake crying” while initially telling two officers who visited his home Thursday that he bought the rifle and sold it to McCarthy. He eventually changed his story and acknowledged that McCarthy asked him to buy the rifle for him. He said he did so because McCarthy was from out of state.
McCarthy served time in prison in New Hampshire for first-degree assault and a parole violation. He also was wanted at the time of his arrest on a 2015 warrant out of Johnson County, Missouri, for unlawful possession of a firearm. As a convicted felon, McCarthy cannot legally own a firearm.
Noble told the officers he “panicked” when he returned home on Monday — the day after the shooting — and found the rifle leaning against an inside doorway, the statement said. He said he told his wife he needed to take out the trash and instead drove to a creek about 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) north of Clinton, where he threw it into the water. He took officers to the creek Thursday, where they recovered a rifle that “meets the description and appears … to be the weapon used in the murder,” according to the probable cause statement.
The statement does not address how Noble knew McCarthy and Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Bill Lowe said Thursday that the relationship was unclear.
McCarthy didn’t appear to have many friends in Clinton, according to his neighbors and landlord. They told The Kansas City Star that McCarthy generally stayed inside his home only a few blocks from where Michael was killed and seemed to spend his time playing video games and hunting and fishing. He didn’t seem to have worked since arriving in Clinton about four years ago.
He lived off $2,000 a month from a trust fund set up by his deceased grandfather, according to his landlord, Ed Hannah.
“He’s an odd duck,” Hannah said. “He was such a hermit nobody really knew anything about him.”
Hannah said he set up a few job interviews for McCarthy, but that his tenant never showed up to them. After McCarthy fell behind on his rent about a year and half ago, Hannah arranged to be paid directly by the trust fund managers and never saw McCarthy again.
Next-door neighbors said they mostly saw McCarthy when he let out his dogs — Minion and Nibbler — whom he doted on. One neighbor, Whitney Julian, said McCarthy had a temper, once “going berserk” when heavy machinery woke him up — at about 10 a.m.
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