Robert Nuttle (provided by JPD)

Authorities in Joplin are taking a closer look at a 25-year-old cold case that they thought they had solved twice, and are asking the public for help.

On January 7th, the Joplin Police Department issued a news release seeking information that might help solve the September 26, 1985, murder of nightclub owner Robert Nuttle.

Detective Trevor Duncan says Nuttle, 45, was found dead on floor of the Country Roundup at 1700 W. Seventh Street about 11 a.m. by a woman who had come to look for a friend of hers.  The woman told investigators the door was unlocked.  The weapon used to kill him was found nearby.

Duncan says it was not unusual for Nuttle to stay all night at the bar when he was working late doing paperwork.

When the homicide was first investigated 25 years ago, tips led investigators to believe the catalyst for Nuttle's murder was his involvement in a love triangle.  Investigators questioned two people in connection to that allegation, but didn't have enough evidence to make a case and released them. 

In 1986, Aaron Dean Davis, who was 26 years old at the time, told police he was responsible for Nuttle's slaying.  He was charged with second-degree murder the same day he was handed consecutive prison terms totaling 50 years for two armed robberies in Joplin. However, the murder charge was dropped six months later when police determined Davis lied about his involvement in the businessman's murder.

Almost ten years after Nuttle's murder investigators took another look at the case after his daughter provided them with additional information about the two people alleged in the love triangle that cops originally had questioned.  The prosecutor refused to file any charges at that time citing lack of evidence.


Joplin Police Detective Trevor Duncan

Duncan, who has been working on the case since September of 2010,  says, "There’s someone out there who has some information that can help us solve Mr. Nuttle's murder.  Now that 25 years have passed, relationships have changed and people have grown older and they may be willing to come forward now."

If you know anything about Nuttle's murder you're asked to call Detective Duncan at 623-3131, ext. 600. You can also submit anonymous tips on the department’s website at http://www.joplinpolice.org/

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