Authorities say the man accused of shooting a six-year-old boy with Down Syndrome was babysitting the child at the time.
Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane told reporters Thursday afternoon Scottie Willet was a friend of the boy's family who had been living with them since January. He said Willet was babysitting the boy while the mother was at work when the murder happened.
Sheriff's deputies found the boy's body hidden in a bedroom at his home on Primrose Lane Thursday morning. Crane said Willet had stolen a car and fled to an acquaintance's house in Sedalia, where he was picked up on an outstanding warrant for littering. Pettis County authorities notified his office when a bulletin went out with a description of Willet and the car.
Court documents show Willet admitted to Crane he shot the child multiple times with a Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun. Willet is now in the Callaway County jail on a $1,000,000 cash-only bond.
Online court records show Willet was no stranger to the law. At the time of the murder, he was on five years' probation for a 2012 stealing conviction in Boone County. He had also pleaded guilty to petty theft and tampering with a motor vehicle in 2009. Crane said as far as he knew, Willet had not caused any trouble with the family prior to Thursday.
Willet has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He has also been charged with stealing the gun authorities believe was used in the murder. If he is convicted, he could face either the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole.