To view original article click here
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 10, 1996
A man who killed himself this week by standing in front of an oncoming train was a witness who linked three men to a double killing. Troy Evans, 31, waited in a lawn chair, then stood and was struck when a train approached before midnight Tuesday in his hometown of Hoberg, just south of Mount Vernon, sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Davis said.
A note left in the home he shared with his girlfriend, Frankie Young, who also was a witness, did not mention his expected testimony. The testimony was to be against the three men charged with killing two Aurora brothers on New Year’s Day, authorities told The Joplin Globe.
The note instructed Young not to let the children go outside the house, sheriff’s Capt. Doug Seneker said. Additional details of the note were not disclosed.
Davis said Evans had been taking anti-depression medication as late as two weeks ago.
Evans and Young already had testified during a preliminary hearing against Brandon Hutchison, 21, of Mount Vernon, who was charged with fatally shooting Ronald Yates, 35, and Brian Yates, 30. Evans was expected to testify at Hutchison’s trial and perhaps against co-defendants Freddy Lopez, 28, and Michael Salazar, 18, both of Verona.
Each of the three men faces two counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Hutchinson may face a death sentence. Their trials are pending, and they are being held without bond.
Investigators “have no reason to believe (Evans’ death) is related to the homicides,” Lawrence County prosecutor Robert George said. “We’re not suspecting any foul play.”
Authorities said the brothers were shot at Lopez’s body shop in Verona early on Jan. 1. Their bodies were dumped along a road near Freistatt. After the killings, the three suspects went to Evans’ home, prosecutors said.
Young and Evans testified in March that Hutchison showered to wash blood from his hand while Lopez placed a long-distance call to Arizona as Salazar listened. Hutchison and Salazar also changed clothes, Evans testified. Key to Evans’ testimony was his reported inspection of Lopez’s trunk, where he noticed the maroon carpeting was missing. Identical carpeting was found near the Yateses’ bodies.
“I wouldn’t call Evans a crucial witness, but he helped put things into the time frame,” Matt Selby, assistant prosecutor, said Wednesday. “When you plug that (carpet testimony) into the time frame, it doesn’t tell you who pulled the trigger but it pretty much puts those three (suspects) at the scene where the bodies were left.”
Prosecutors could use Evans’ testimony in Hutchison’s case and a deposition he gave about a month ago, George said.
Copyright 1996 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Record Number: 9608100454