UPDATE: Murder charges filed; names of Avilla homicide victims released

Jeff Lehr, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·1 min read

Feb. 22—The Jasper County Sheriff's Department has released the names of the two homicide victims whose bodies were discovered Sunday at a residence in Avilla.

The deceased were identified as Mason McClure, 34, a resident of the address, and Nicole Hodges, 34, of Joplin. The sheriff's office said autopsies conducted today determined that McClure and Hodges both died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Kevin C. Johnson, 24, of Reeds, has been charged with the murder of the two. Johnson was charged by the Jasper County prosecutor with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action.

Johnson is the boyfriend of Brylee O'Banion, a 25-year-old Joplin area woman whose body was discovered Saturday afternoon in a ditch near the intersection of State Line Road and Angus Drive in Newton County.

Newton County Sheriff Ken Jennings said that investigators there were looking for McClure and Hodges in connection with the slaying of O'Banion when their deaths were discovered in Avilla. The sheriff referred to McClure and Hodges as persons of interest in O'Banion's murder because she is believed to have been in their company prior to meeting her own death.

Investigators have not said how O'Banion was killed but have indicated that they consider her death a homicide.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.