In the hours before police say he killed three people and wounded another, Joshua Maylee met with an attorney _ he was facing a felony theft charge _ and passed much of the day at his grandfather's home.
He borrowed his grandfather's car and promised to return it the next day, but he never did.
Instead, police say Maylee, 23, went Tuesday night to the homes of two couples he knew near Holts Summit _ his hometown, according to court records.
Gina Werdehausen, 41, told investigators that she went to check on a disturbance outside her home at about 10 p.m., and a gunman shot her in the neck. The assailant then entered the house and killed her 46-year-old husband, Jeffrey.
Police say she was unable to identify the gunman, but that she was able to give them a physical description and told investigators that she and her husband had recently had problems with Maylee and that "threats had been made."
Investigators began reaching out to others who may have had dealings with Maylee.
Officers checking up on one such couple, Eugene Allen Pinet, 48, and his 57-year-old wife, Jackie, arrived at their home just as a relative came upon their bodies, Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler, of the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, told reporters Friday.
"Our investigators were following up leads and going and checking on people that we knew could possibly have been involved in this, and there it was," Bruchsaler.
Maylee was charged Friday with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault. He appeared in an orange jumpsuit without a lawyer in a Callaway County courtroom on Friday, as people familiar with the victims, reporters and others watched. A judge read the charges to him, and no plea was entered. Another court hearing was set for Nov. 19.
Authorities haven't disclosed a possible motive for the shootings or said exactly how Maylee knew the two couples. But they said the couples were targeted and that all the victims had connections to Maylee from previous "negative dealings."
According to court documents, Maylee told his grandfather he was leaving for an hourlong drive to his girlfriend's home in Rocky Mount, Mo., around 9:30 p.m on Tuesday. Authorities say he left behind a pickup truck, a backpack and a black tactical bag that in its pouches had loaded ammunition magazines.
Police said shell casings recovered from the shootings at both homes matched those found at the residence Maylee shared with his girlfriend. The casings also came from the same type of assault rifle and handgun that Maylee was known to own.
Gina Werdehausen _ who was hospitalized after being shot in the neck _ told police she and her husband "had a number of problems with Maylee and that lately threats had been made," according to the probable cause statement.
In addition to the murder charges, Maylee is facing two felony theft charges _ one of which was filed after the shooting victims were found early Wednesday morning. According to a police probable cause statement in that case, Maylee stole a lawn mower from a home in Kingdom City on Oct. 15, 2009. He told police in a July 20 interview that he put the lawn mower in an enclosed trailer and took it to Pinet's home. It is not clear from court documents whether Pinet knew the mower was stolen.
Maylee also was charged with theft on Oct. 4 for allegedly stealing a tractor from a Holts Summit resident on March 24, 2009. A police probable cause statement says Maylee "confessed to stealing the tractor" and told police he kept it at his house for several weeks before taking it to Ashland, Mo., where it sold for $2,500.