Update: Monday, Jan. 24 at 12:05 p.m.:
The man charged with a Columbia trailer park murder is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon.Zachariah Joel Peterson, 22, is scheduled to be arraigned via closed circuit television on charges of second degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of James Porter.Porter, 31, was found shot multiple times last Tuesday in the Sunset Hills trailer park in southeast Columbia.Peterson is currently being held in the Boone County Jail. The murder is Columbia's first for 2011. Update: Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7:05 p.m.:
In a press release the Columbia Police Department said witnesses saw Peterson arrive at Porter TMs residence in his blue 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe.
The two were seen leaving in the Tahoe and witnesses told police they were going to do a drug deal. The release said a witness told police they heard gunshots and saw Porter fall from the passenger side of the Tahoe, which then left at a high rate of speed.
The police department said the public's help was key in solving the case.
"Within 50 minutes of me releasing that information to the media, Peterson was located walking in Columbia, Columbia Police Department Public Information Officer Jill Wieneke said. Furthermore, 14 hours of us releasing the information about the crimestoppers reward, we got a tip about where the Tahoe was at. That to me was just a huge testament to what everybody can do when the citizens and police work together. We're very grateful for those tips."
Inside Peterson TMs Chevy Tahoe investigators found blood in several places.
The department said a floor mat left at the scene of the crime appeared to match the floor mats in the Tahoe.
Investigators also found a bullet casing along with blood on the passenger seatbelt, console and passenger seat.
Wieneke also said during a search of Peterson TMs residence a large amount of cash was located. A bag belonging to Peterson was recovered from his girlfriend, which contained a felony amount of marijuana.
Update: Friday, Jan. 21 at 8:30 p.m.:
Boone County prosecutors have filed a 2nd degree murder charge against Zach Peterson. He was the man police wanted for questioning in the death of James Porter, 31.
Peterson also faces armed criminal action, reisisting arrest, and 3rd degree assault charges.
He is still in the Boone County jail.
Update: Friday, Jan. 21 at 10:50 a.m.:
Columbia police have found the missing SUV possibly linked to a murder investigation. Officials say they received a CrimeStoppers tip around 8:30 Friday morning that lead officers to the SUV.
For investigative reasons Columbia police cannot disclose the location where the vehicle was found, its condition or contents.More details are expected to be released as the investigation continues.
Update: Thursday, Jan. 20 at 10:40 p.m.:Columbia police are offering a reward to help find a missing SUV possibly linked to a murder investigation. Zach Peterson's blue Chevy Tahoe has Missouri plates WF9-X5M. Anyone with information can make an anonymous tip by calling CrimeStoppers at (573) 875-8477. Prosecutors filed a third degree assault charge against Peterson Thursday. He's accused of biting someone's finger last week at a Columbia nightclub. Police also are questioning him in the death of James Porter, 31, earlier this week. Porter was found dead Tuesday afternoon at the Sunset Trailer Park near Grindstone and US-63.
Officers say Peterson is not cooperating with the investigation.
Update: Wednesday Jan. 19th 11:25 p.m.: Columbia Police have arrested a man wanted for questioning in Tuesday's trailer park murder in Columbia.Police arrested Zachariah Joel Peterson, 22, Thursday afternoon just hours after releasing his picture to the media.A caller to police said they say Peterson's photograph on the news and thought they saw him walking in the 1600 block of North Providence Road. Police were able to arrest him without a struggle.Police said Peterson is not under arrest for the murder but were able to hold him on an outstanding warrant stemming from a high-speed chase last month.Investigators are trying to interview Peterson but say he is being uncooperative in answering questions about the shooting death of James Leon Porter, 31, who was found dead Tuesday afternoon at the Sunset Trailer Park in Columbia.Police are still searching for Peterson TMs dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe, Missouri license WF9-X5M. Anyone having any information on the location of the vehicle is urged to call police immediately
Update, Wednesday Jan. 19th 1:30 p.m.: Police are now characterizing the shooting death of a man at a Columbia trailer park as a drug deal gone bad and they have released a picture of a man wanted for questioning.Investigators believe James Leon Porter, 31, of Columbia was involved in a narcotics deal shortly before he was shot multiple times Tuesday afternoon.Police are asking anyone who has information about the whereabouts of Zachariah Joel Peterson, 22, of Columbia, to immediately call police. Police say Peterson has violent tendencies and should be considered armed and dangerous.On the day of the murder, police believe Peterson was in contact with the murder victim.Neighbors also told police that Chevrolet Tahoe believed to belong to Peterson was also seen speeding away from the murder scene. The Tahoe is described as dark blue with Missouri license WF9X5M.Peterson currently has an active warrant for his arrest for Felony Resisting Arrest stemming from a traffic stop and high speed chase on December 8, 2010. Police spokeswoman Jill Wieneke described the traffic stop as follows: "Peterson was pulled over by a traffic officer performing school zone enforcement in northeast Columbia. The officer, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), smelled a strong odor of burning marijuana coming from the car and believed Peterson was exhibiting symptoms consistent with drug use," Wieneke wrote in a press release to KRCG."The officer approached the car (the Chevy Tahoe) and opened the driver TMs door to have Peterson step out, at which time Peterson put the car in drive and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The officer pursued, but Peterson began driving into oncoming traffic at speeds of close to 80 miles per hour. The pursuit was terminated due to Peterson TMs dangerous driving," Wieneke wrote.Wieneke said the car was later found abandoned and that officers found baggies of marijuana inside the vehicle.
Police ask that anyone who knows the location of Zachariah Peterson, or the Chevrolet Tahoe, immediately contact police, or call Crimestoppers at 875-TIPS to provide anonymous information.
Wednesday Jan. 19th 12:01 p.m.:
Police have identified the victim as James Leon Porter, 31, of Columbia.
Update, Tuesday Jan. 18th 6:09 p.m.:
At this hour, police are investigating a homicide at the Sunset Trailer Park off Lenoir Street in South Columbia.
Someone called 911 shortly after 2 o TMclock this afternoon and reported that a black male was lying in a pool of blood outside a trailer.
Emergency crews tried to save the victim by performing CPR.
Authorities do not know the identity of the victim.
At this hour, officers are going door to door and asking neighbors if they have any information about the homicide.
Authorities are not sure whether the man was shot or stabbed.
Columbia police spokeswoman officer Jill Wieneke said, The call initially came out that it was a stabbing. It TMs really hard to tell until the autopsy is performed. There was no immediate evidence in the area to say one way or the other, if it was a stabbing, gunshot wounds or some type of object or instrument. Until we get the autopsy, we won TMt be 100% sure.
Authorities moved the body to the medical examiner TMs office less than an hour ago.
There are no suspects and very few leads.
If you have any information, police urge you to call Columbia CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS.
Police say a man's death at a Columbia trailer park is now being called a homicide.Police say the body was discovered around 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Sunset Trailer Park in the southeast section of the city.Jill Wieneke with the Columbia Police Department says they started investigating the death as a homicide once the medical examiner ruled out self-inflicted wounds.Wieneke would not say what type of injuries the man had.KRCG has a crew at the scene and will bring you updates once police release more information.