A man who beat a teenager to death in a city park in Lebanon last year has received a life sentence for the crime.
The murder trial of Jerry Broyles II was to begin today. However, he ended up pleading guilty to second degree murder, armed criminal action and assault charges in the death of 17 year-old Zachary Jones and the vicious beating of Matthew Bankston.
(above pic: Zach Jones KY3)
By pleading guilty Broyles acknowledges that he beat Jones and Bankston with a baseball bat and medal rod at Atchley Park in Lebanon in June of 2007.
Jones and Bankston had gone to the park to talk to Broyles, Terry Dunkin and Kimberly Dunkin and two juveniles about text messages that were sent to Broyles' girlfriends cell phone.
A friend that accompanied Jones and Bankston to the park was able to break away from the fight and called authorities for help.
Terry Dunkin, who was Broyles brother, hanged himself in jail two months after being charged with Jones' murder; his wife, Kimberly's trial is scheduled to begin next month in Moniteau County where it was moved on a change of venue.
Matthew Bankston is still recovering from the wounds he received in the beating. Doctors didn't think that Bankston would walk again and thought that he would be paralyzed on one side of his body.
He still suffers from severe emotional and physical pain associated with his wounds. However, last month in a sheer display of determination, he walked to a vigil to oppose a judges ruling at Zach's house, a gazebo that was built in Atchley Park to honor the memory of his friend who lost his life.
The ruling that Bankston and Tina Jones (Zach's mother) opposed had to do with Nathan Gibbs. Gibbs, who was fifteen at the time of Jones death and Bankston's beating was charged with first degree murder and felony assault in the case.
On October 31st a judge reduced Gibbs' bond from $100,000 to $5,000. That means that Gibbs someone only has to post $500.00 to get out of jail.
If he does make bond, he will be held on house arrest as he awaits the start of his trial. No trial date has been scheduled in his case.
*****NOTE: Broyles received 2 life sentences. He also received seven years in prison for possession of marijuana in an unrelated case.
Life in the state of Missouri is thirty years in prison. Those sentences are to be served concurrently (at the same time.)
07LA-CR01427-01 - ST V NATHAN EUGENE GIBBS
07LA-CR00690-02 - ST V KIMBERLY ELAINE DUNKIN