Defendant waives hearing in Joplin mini-storage murder

·2 min read

Jun. 23—Mason Roach waived a preliminary hearing this week on the murder charges he is facing in the 2019 slaying of Jonathan Powell at a mini-storage business in Joplin.

Roach, 26, waived the hearing Wednesday in Jasper County Circuit Court and was ordered bound over for trial on counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Powell was killed the afternoon of Dec. 18, 2019, at Westside Mini-Storage, 1717 S. Roosevelt Ave. An autopsy determined that he had been shot three times.

About a month after the slaying, police announced that they were seeking a black mid-2000s Nissan Altima that surveillance camera footage showed leaving the storage business the day of the shooting.

Investigators subsequently found a woman who acknowledged having been forced into a black Altima at gunpoint by Roach in Carl Junction and driven to the storage business. She told police that he was upset with her about some messages between her and Powell that he had discovered.

As they arrived at the storage units, Powell started toward their vehicle and Roach pointed a handgun at her head, she told police. She leaned forward in the passenger seat to avoid being shot, and Roach fired several rounds from the driver's seat through the passenger-side window, she told police.

The probable-cause affidavit filed with the defendant's murder charges does not state if any of those rounds struck Powell or what happened next. It also does not state if the woman saw him shoot Powell.

The document does allege that, in the month following the slaying, Roach told three people that he shot and killed Powell.

The affidavit further states that the Altima he was driving cam be seen on the surveillance video entering the storage business at 12:02 p.m. and leaving it at 12:06 p.m. No other vehicle can be seen on the footage until 12:13 p.m. when the person who called 911 to report finding a gunshot victim entered the business, according to the affidavit.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.