Paschall found guilty in double homicide

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Jury convicts on all six felony counts Thursday evening

After three days of prosecution and a day of defense, a Newton County jury did not take long to convict Christopher Paschall on six felony counts stemming from the shooting deaths of a woman and her grandfather at a home in Washburn on Jan. 5, 2015.

The trial began on Monday, with a jury comprised of 10 women and two men. After four hours of deliberation on Thursday, the jury found Paschall guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and one count of parental kidnapping.

Over a three-day period, Steven Kretzer, special prosecuting attorney after the case's venue was changed to Newton County, brought to the stand family of the victims, first responders and detectives who worked on the case.

After allegedly killing 29-year-old Casey Brace and her grandfather, 67-year-old Herbert Townsend, at Townsend's home near Farm Road 1055 and 8th Street in Washburn, Paschall, 39, allegedly took his 2-year-old daughter and fled to his mother's home in Springdale, Ark. About four hours after the shooting, and with help from a ping from Paschall's cell phone, the Springdale Police Department's SWAT Team arrested Paschall and the girl was found unharmed. Townsend died at Cox South Hospital the same night as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds.

Kretzer brought up how Townsend, still alive when authorities arrived, named Paschall when asked who shot him and his granddaughter.

The forensic pathologist, Dr. Keith Norton, said Brace had gunshot wounds to the back left of the head, right side of her chest and left shoulder. The bullet in her head cut her spinal cord, which Norton said would have cause an immediate collapse.

A bullet that struck Townsend went through his brain, shattered his right eye, then traveled through his windpipe and voicebox, eventually found in his lung. Townsend also had wounds on his chest, shoulder, right elbow and right forearm. Three bullets were found, but a precise determination on the number of times he was shot could not be made.

Witnesses said Paschall's vehicle, a blue Nissan, was seen in the area on the day of the shootings in Exeter and in Cassville.

Crime scene photos were also shown, and Kretzer made a point to show a child was in the home, pointing out an oatmeal pie with a missing bite found on a child's desk in the living room.

Paschall's attorney, Andrew Miller, pointed out no physical evidence linked Paschall to the home, nor does the state have a murder weapon. All the bullets are, however, shown to be from the same gun. He also questioned the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Barry County Sheriff's Office investigations, asking why the patrol did not lift fingerprints from the front door, door knobs or the rifle Townsend was holding. He later questioned why Barry County deputies did not investigate suspects other than Paschall, specifically a man who lived 20 minutes away who "had a history of homicide." Det. Doug Henry, with the Barry County Sheriff's Office, said the victim in that case was the man's father, and the crime occurred when the man was 15 years old.

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