MARYVILLE, Mo. — A Maysville man charged with second degree murder in connection to the death of 23-year-old Leah Dawson last summer was found guilty of a lesser crime on Thursday.
A judge found Kenneth Wykery guilty of first degree involuntary manslaughter and abandonment of a corpse.
Wykert was charged with second degree murder for the death of Dawson who was found lying dead on the property of Wykert’s grandmother’s property on June 26, 2019. She had been missing for weeks.
DeKalb County Prosecutor Erik Tate alleged Wykert was the last person to see Dawson alive and he had told a friend he was going to kill Dawson after the couple got into a heated argument in the Cameron area on June 3. During the search for Dawson, A cell mate testified that Wykert confessed to killing her.
Public Defender Joshua Smith, representing Wykert, argued law enforcement believed his client was guilty at the outset of the investigation and failed to chase down evidence that would have pointed in another direction.
The bench trial started Monday in Nodaway County Court. After three days of testimony, Judge Prokes took the case under advisement and issued his ruling on Thursday.
Wykert’s sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 1.