Teenager charged as an adult in torture-murder of Liberty man

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Brandon Fletcher, 19

LIBERTY, Mo. – A 17-year-old has now been certified as an adult in Clay County and charged with the first-degree murder of Mark A. Thomas, 58, who was kidnapped and killed in January.

Brandon Fletcher, 17, and Zachary M. Lisle, 21, are both accused of killing Thomas on January 4.

Lisle had already been charged just days after the murder. Juvenile charges against Fletcher were dropped on Thursday and Clay County prosecutors filed first degree murder charges against him as an adult.

In a hand-written statement allegedly written after his arrest, Lisle said the “torture was senseless.” According to police, he told them Thomas had offered him and Fletcher a ride home from Thomas’ residence in Liberty, Mo.

Zachary M. Lisle, 21, faces life behind bars or death  if convicted of the first degree murder of Mark Thomas of Liberty.

Zachary M. Lisle, 21, faces life behind bars or death if convicted of the first degree murder of Mark Thomas of Liberty.

Lisle said he and Fletcher were armed with an air-soft gun and forced Thomas to pull over near 112th Street and Reinking, where he said he proceeded to hit and kick Thomas in the head, while Fletcher demanded Thomas’ ATM card and PIN.

Police found Thomas’ truck at a trailer park at 8801 N.E. 107th Terrace with a large amount of blood inside it, along with a knife and knife sheath.

According to the probable cause statement, Fletcher (with his mother present) told police Lisle beat Thomas over the head with an unknown object after asking him to pull over. Fletcher told authorities he and Lisle moved Thomas to the back of the truck and then drove to an area near a pond. He said initially Lisle had poured gasoline on Thomas, but instead of setting him on fire, the two of them had placed Thomas inside a park bathroom. Fletcher said at this time Thomas was still breathing. He said he returned to the truck immediately but said Lisle stayed behind for several minutes.

Mark Thomas, 58, of Liberty was reported missing by his family and found dead a day later at Smithville Lake.

Mark Thomas, 58, of Liberty was reported missing by his family and found dead a day later at Smithville Lake.

When police questioned Lisle, they said he admitted to punching and kicking Thomas in the face and head. According to the probable cause, Lisle said he and Fletcher drove Thomas to an ATM where they ordered him to give his PIN. Using his information they withdrew $200. Lisle told police they eventually drove Thomas to an area near Smithville Lake and put Thomas inside a bathroom stall. Lisle said at some point during the assault Fletcher tried to cut off Thomas’ finger with a knife in an effort to get his gold ring.

Police located Thomas’ body inside the women’s restroom early Sunday morning. Thomas was found lying on his back, his ankles bound by jumper cables, his head wrapped in a green bag with wire around it, and his left ring finger partially severed in an apparent attempt to steal his wedding ring. His body also showed signs he had been severely beaten.

In their documentation to certify Fletcher as an adult, prosecutors said he was 16-years-old  and 11-months when the crime occurred. They also said he has a repetitive pattern of offenses.

If convicted of first degree murder, Lisle and Fletcher could face a sentence of death or life in prison.

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