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Murder, arson charges filed against Myrtle man

Thursday, December 11, 2008

(Photo)
Leona Maxine Vaughan
A 32-year-old Myrtle, Mo., man, Michael Edward Amick, is in the Oregon County Jail at Alton facing first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony arson charges. He was arrested Dec. 5 at his home on State Route 142 in Myrtle. His bond has been set at $1 million.

The charges were filed in connection with the death of Leona Maxine Vaughan whose body was found in a house fire around noon on Dec. 2.

According to a probable cause statement written by Oregon County Deputy Eric King, the Oregon County Sheriff's Department received a report of a fire at the Jackie Risner residence on County Road 278 at 11:45 a.m., Dec. 2, and that Risner's mother, Vaughan, was still inside the house. As the fire was extinguished, a badly burned body was located on the west side of the residence. The body was turned over to Oregon County Coroner Tom Clary who transported the body to Springfield for an autopsy.

Preliminary autopsy results indicated that Vaughan died from multiple small caliber gunshots to the head.

According to King, a neighbor of Vaughans filed a written statement at the fire scene stating he saw Amick's truck at the Risner residence as he drove from his home to the store at Myrtle. At 11:20 a.m., he made purchases at the store then returned toward his home. As he drove past the Risner residence, he stated he saw smoke coming from the roof of the residence. When he realized there was nothing he could do, he drove to his house to speak with his dad, then drove to the Myrtle Bar where Jackie Risner worked. The neighbor and Risner returned to the home and contacted the sheriff's office for help.

According to King, Amick denied he was at the Risner residence. The probable cause statement says that Amick claims that during this time frame, he dropped his son off at his mother's residence at around 10:25 a.m., then drove to the Myrtle Post Office and then to his home approximately five miles north of Myrtle. He said he changed a tire on his truck, checked on an e-mail issue, returned to his parent's residence for a chainsaw and then met his brother and another man for lunch at the cafe in Myrtle.

Amick is married to Vaughan's granddaughter which is Jackie Risner's daughter. Reports show that Vaughan had received a loan at a local bank in the amount of $20,637.80 on March 7. The collateral for the loan was a 2007 Honda van titled in Mike Amick's name. The loan had a credit life insurance policy purchased with the loan. The last payment on this loan was due Nov. 6 and has not been paid. The latest payment made on the loan was made Oct. 15.

According to King, a search warrant was requested on Dec. 5 to search the residence and real estate of Amick.

The probable cause statement says that on Dec. 4, Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward had been by the residence of Amick after receiving information that Amick was seen loading things in his truck in a possible effort to move from the area. Ward said he observed an oxy-acetylene torch in the back of Amick's truck.

During the search conducted Dec. 5, what appeared to be evidence of something being cut-up with a cutting torch was found along the edge of a pond on land owned by Amick. Authorities say a cut-up .22 caliber pistol was found in the pond.

According to family members, an account has been opened at the Bank of Thayer/Howell County Bank to help Jackie Risner and Risner's four children who where living in the home that burned. Vaughan was the only one home at the time of the fire.

The family had no insurance and lost all their possessions in the fire. Donations to the fund will also help the family with Vaughan's funeral expenses.

The Bank of Thayer has branches in Thayer, Alton and West Plains.


Comments
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I worked with Mike Amick at BNSF Railroad.

I am shocked. I wonder what makes someone go that far. I hope he pays for his act.

-- Posted by jeffpankey on Thu, Dec 11, 2008, at 7:46 PM

I graduated CHS with Mike. He was always a bit short-tempered and rebellious, but I never thought he'd murder someone. I and my church will be praying for him and the deceased's family that justice will be served. I hope one day he asks the Lord for forgiveness. It's the only way to make things "right." It won't bring back this woman, but I believe he will feel better about himself when and if he does, and that he will truly be sorry for what he did.

-- Posted by pcrmc1 on Thu, Dec 11, 2008, at 8:29 PM

First of all.. innocent until PROVEN guilty..has everyone forgotten that?

Those who think they have the ability to judge should have attended the prelimenary hearing and witnessed the event.

The witness testified that he probably wouldn't have passed a drug test the day of the incident then proceeded to state he has known Mike's truck his "entire life" then FAILED to give an accurate description of the truck after being asked repeatly.

It should also be said that the law never investigated anyone other than Mike.

In addition, 5 people have came forward and given statements that they actually SEEN Mike in person during the time frame this crime was committed.. and that doesn't include his family members who also SEEN Mike during the "Crime Time Frame".

AGAIN I SAY - these people SEEN Mike in Person not just a so-called truck that a strung-out on drugs witness claimed he seen YET failed to accuratly describe.

Mike has 3 small children under the age of 3 and they are victims of this crime which this community seems to have forgotten. As their Dad sits in jail for a crime that he didn't commit & has yet to be proven guilty of any crime...his children are without their Dad. They are also prohibitted from visiting him while he is in jail.

By the way, Mike has NO CRIMINAL HISTORY....unlike others who resided in the home of the crime scene. Unless you know all the facts, don't believe everything you hear or read in the newspaper.

People in Myrtle should be aware that as Mike Amick sits in the Oregon County Jail - we have a killer out walking around us & they need to be very concerned.

-- Posted by surrounded_by_idiots on Sun, Feb 8, 2009, at 2:54 AM

In response to surrounded_by_idiots, first a respectable person wouldn't want to write something at 2:54 AM least it make people wonder what they are doing up at such an hour when the average person is in bed asleep. Next she should also take a course in grammar and learn to use "Seen" in the right context, the proper word is "saw" and the proper word is "come forward" not came forward.

Granted the three small children are victims but you failed to mention the wife and the three Granddaughters and their Mother that also lost their Grandmother and Mother along with Mrs. Vaughn's Grandson that crawled into the burning house trying to save his Grandmother. Let's be fair and call a spade a spade, people that live in glass house's shouldn't throw stones. A lot of people have things in their past that have nothing to do with this terrible crime.

-- Posted by Digusted on Sat, May 30, 2009, at 7:12 PM

In response to "digusted"; please do not give lessons on grammar without checking your own editing or lack thereof. Also, as a school teacher who frequently works until very late grading papers, please do not make assumptions about someone who posts things at 2a.m. I am thrilled that you are able to work within a typical schedule, but not everyone has that luxury, and it is not because we are doing anything unmentionable.

No one involved in this case is untouched. Regardless of guilt, the best thing I can do for all of them is pray. I was not present when the crime was committed so I cannot say anything with complete certainty, only the person who committed the crime could be certain. I do know that the Michael I went to school with and watched grow up from elementary to high school, would never have harmed this person. Things happen and people change but he was not the only person who could have been involved in this crime. He should not have been the only one investigated.

-- Posted by Concerned Observer on Sun, Jun 14, 2009, at 2:00 PM

I hope Mike didn't do this.

-- Posted by jeffpankey on Thu, Jun 18, 2009, at 11:20 AM

This is in response to "Disgusted."

YOU need a course in grammar! Not only is your punctuation poorly done, but the phrase "Let's be fair and call a spade a spade, people that live in glass house's shouldn't throw stones." is improper. When referring to a person, you would say, "people WHO live..." That doesn't include the missed punctuation marks. You only capitalize "mother" and "grandmother" if you are addressing the person in lieu of a name. [ie., "my mother and I," or "Mother and I"]. Oh, plus the comma after the word "spade" should really be a semi-colon, but I digress...

Regardless, a forum should not be used to criticize a person's grammar. That's juvenile.

I can understand why surrounded_by_idiots would be up at 2:45 am. Some people have odd shifts. Some people function better during the night, and also consider the problem I often have with my computer. The time and dates are now always correct.

From what I have been reading about the case, Mike Amick was slapped with a typical "rush to accuse" cop out by the local law enforcement. If they had been doing their jobs, they would have realized that the case is far from being solved. There are far too many kissing cousins and felonious witnesses to make the case credible.

In response to surrounded_by_idiots, first a respectable person wouldn't want to write something at 2:54 AM least it make people wonder what they are doing up at such an hour when the average person is in bed asleep. Next she should also take a course in grammar and learn to use "Seen" in the right context, the proper word is "saw" and the proper word is "come forward" not came forward.

[quoted material]

"Granted the three small children are victims but you failed to mention the wife and the three Granddaughters and their Mother that also lost their Grandmother and Mother along with Mrs. Vaughn's Grandson that crawled into the burning house trying to save his Grandmother. Let's be fair and call a spade a spade, people that live in glass house's shouldn't throw stones. A lot of people have things in their past that have nothing to do with this terrible crime.

-- Posted by Digusted on Sat, May 30, 2009, at 7:12 PM"

-- Posted by ceschott on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 11:09 AM


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