Public defender takes up Koebel case

Ryan Wayne Koebel made his first appearance in Callaway Circuit Court Friday morning, with Public Defender Justin Carver at his side.

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Ryan W. Koebel

Koebel, 17, is charged with one count first-degree murder, three counts first-degree assault with one count first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and four counts armed criminal action. He is accused of fatally stabbing and shooting his 60-year-old grandmother, Karen K. Cates, on the morning of Jan. 20 before leaving the house and later shooting at officers with the Holts Summit Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol while walking down Highway 54.

In court Friday morning, Carver moved to waive having the charges against his client — who was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair — read out loud and moved for a continuance. Another appearance was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 24.

“(The Feb. 24 appearance) gives us time to see how much progress can be made on wrapping up the investigation, finalizing the reports and submitting them to the prosecution, with an eye toward setting a preliminary hearing,” said Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson.

Wilson said heightened security at the courthouse Friday morning — which included an increased presence by law enforcement and a metal detector set up in front of the courtroom — was due to the volatile nature of Koebel’s case.

“Given this is a murder case and is high profile and still so early in the case,” Wilson said. “We want to make sure every precaution is made to protect everyone in the courtroom, including the defendant.”

Koebel still is in the custody of the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office. No bond has been set.

If convicted, Koebel faces life without parole. He is not eligible for the death penalty because he was under age 18 at the time the crime was committed.

Calls to Carver were not returned by press time.

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