This blog will mainly focus on crime in and around Southwest Missouri....Winner Of Springfield Blogger's Association: ROOKIE BLOG OF THE YEAR 2009--WINNER News or Current Events Blog Of The Year 2010
The former classmate of two teenagers who were stabbed to death in 2009 has pleaded guilty in an amended plea deal with prosecutors.
Garrett Matthew Mason, 19, of Nevada, told Judge David Dally that he killed 14 year-old Kylie Leyva and Annie Reed inside Reed's apartment after he had gone there to quell a text message fight between the girls and Amanda Sandoval.
Mason had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for his classmate and former roommates deaths, however, prosecutors amended the charges to two counts of second-degree murder and dismissed the other charges in exchange for Mason's testimony in future proceedings against anyone else facing charges related to the teens deaths.
Last month Leviathon "Levi" Lee Dipman, 20, of Nevada, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly conspiring with Mason to kill the girls.
Leviathon "Levi" Dipman (mug shot VCSO)
Judge Dally asked Vernon County Prosecutor Lynn Ewing to surmise the evidence the state would have used against Mason at trial. Ewing said the defendant knowingly caused the deaths of the two girls by stabbing them.
Ewing explained to the judge that Mason and three friends - Leviathon Dipman, Allan Harper and Amanda Sandoval had all been at Stockton lake for a weekend camping trip and after they returned to Harper's house, Mason made the decision to go to Reed's apartment, which was a few blocks away.
Dipman had been a former boyfriend of both Leyva and Sandoval's. In court documents, Mason told investigators that Reed and Leyva had been sending hateful text messages to Sandoval during the trip and he went to Reed's apartment to get them to stop.
According to Ewing, "the evidence would be that this defendant was consuming alcohol" and that he had ingested psilocybin mushrooms -- a hallucinogenic substance -- before going over to Reed's apartment.
Ewing said that while Mason was at Reed's apartment for over an hour and a half, Reed washed and styled Mason's hair. During that time, "Mason secured a knife from Annie Reed's kitchen counter and stabbed Annie with the knife and cut her in the neck." He also cut Kylie Leyva on the neck, according to Ewing.
- Reed ran from the apartment and knocked on the door of a neighbor before collapsing on the top step. As that neighbor and another nearby resident attempted to help Reed they both heard her say "Garrett Mason did it," according to Ewing.
Friends left momentos on the steps of Reed's apartment
After the attack Mason ran his to parents' home that wasn't far from the crime scene. Ewing told Judge Dally that "No weapon has been tied to this crime forensically."
At some point shortly after the girls were assaulted, Mason returned to Allan Harper's house, as Harper, Sandoval and Dipman were leaving to return a beer keg from the weekend camping trip.
Mason told his friends he need to change clothes because he had been in the same ones all weekend. After retrieving a change of clothes from the trunk and changing in back of the car Mason slipped into the backseat and told his friends they needed to provide an alibi for him.
According to the probable cause statement used to charge Dipman, it was at that point Dipman noticed Mason trying to wipe blood off his arm. - The state crime lab matched Leyva's blood to some of the clothing Mason had thrown in the trunk of Harper's vehicle and the shoes he was wearing when he was taken into custody, "Both of these girls bled to death," Ewing told the court. Both girls suffered stab wounds that had pierced the jugular vein, he said, and a knife wound to Reed's chest had nicked her aorta.
Ewing said he had spoken with the parents of the victims, who wanted to move forward. He also said that Kylie Leyva's parents, who were in the courtroom, "wanted everybody that could be held criminally responsible under the law to be held responsible."
No charges have been filed against Harper or Sandoval and Ewing will not comment on whether he will seek charges against them. - Mason was sentenced to two life sentences (a life sentence is thirty years in the state of Missouri) for Reed and Leyva's murders. Those sentences will be served concurrently (at the same time.) Mason could be paroled in approximately 25 years. He would be 44 then.