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story.lead_photo.caption Michael Hatfield Photo by Callaway County Sheriff's Office

Readsville, Missouri

Readsville Missouri
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The voice on the other end of the line told Callaway County Joint Communications "Jim" had been shot.

The county's latest murder case began with that 9:48 a.m. Wednesday call, according to a probable cause statement from the Callaway County Sheriff's Office. Michael Hatfield, 47, of Readsville, was arrested later that day for his alleged involvement in the death of James Newsom, 49, also of Readsville.

Wednesday morning, Hatfield dialed 911 from O&D Junction, telling authorities he didn't have cell reception at his Readsville home. He said Newsom had been at his home, at 10390 Erin Drive, and the two were drinking together while Hatfield packed for an upcoming move.

He claimed not to remember how the conflict began, but he remembered how it ended: with Newsom striking at him and reaching for a Glock, according to the probable cause statement. Hatfield reported he shot Newsom with a Sig Sauer model P238 handgun, and then passed out on the floor.

By the time Hatfield called 911, Newsom was dead, the probable cause statement reports he told the operator.

CCSO deputies arrived at O&D Junction and made contact with Hatfield. Lt. Matthew Palmer said Hatfield had signs of alcohol consumption: an alcohol odor on his breath and red, bloodshot eyes. Hatfield declined to provide a breath sample. He also mentioned researching self-defense, Palmer said in the probable cause statement.

Deputies headed to Hatfield's residence and found Newsom's body and the Sig Sauer. The firearm had a fully loaded magazine, plus a round apparently jammed in its chamber. During his 911 call, Hatfield didn't mention reloading the gun, Palmer noted.

Newsom had gunshot wounds to fingers of his right hand, his left bicep and right side, plus three in his abdomen. Investigators did not note any wounds on his hands aside from the gunshot wounds, according to the PC statement. Investigators found eight spent shell casings nearby.

Newsom wore a holstered firearm, loaded but with a clear chamber.

"It did not appear that the gun had been used or fired in the incident," Palmer stated.

Investigators also spoke to a witness, identified in the probable statement as R.B., who told the CCSO he'd seen Hatfield leave the Hatfield residence, enter Newsom's residence and spend 15-20 minutes inside. Hatfield left carrying "something small" in his hand, then his vehicle departed. This occurred shortly before Hatfield's 911 call, investigators concluded.

Hatfield did not mention visiting Newsom's home while speaking to Joint Communications or CCSO investigators, Palmer stated.

Deputies arrested Hatfield and took him to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office to be held without bond. At 7:43 p.m., the Callaway County prosecuting attorney charged Hatfield with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Sheriff Clay Chism said the investigation is still active, and no further information will be released to protect its integrity. The Missouri Highway Patrol assisted in the investigation.

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