KANSAS CITY (AP) - A man accused of beating and torturing a Liberty man who was giving him a ride home was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge Monday, a day after the victim's body was found in a restroom at a northwest Missouri lake.
Zachary Lisle, 20, of Kansas City, was being held on $1 million bond on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and armed criminal action. Court documents allege that he and a juvenile male told investigators they had beaten 58-year-old Mark Thomas and stolen his wallet.
Thomas' daughter, Jennifer Wright, told The Associated Press on Monday that Lisle and the juvenile were friends with her brother, but she said she was too upset to say much else.
"We're just beside ourselves," she said. "It's absolutely senseless."
Thomas was found dead early Sunday in the women's restroom at Smithville Lake, north of Kansas City, after one of the suspects told investigators where to find him, a Kansas City police detective wrote in a probable cause statement. His legs were bound with jumper cables, a green bag had been tied around his head and one of his fingers was partially severed.
While being interrogated, Lisle gave investigators a handwritten statement that said "the torture was senseless," adding that he and the juvenile shared a cigar after the victim gave up struggling, according to the police document.
No defense attorney was listed for Lisle in court documents, said Jim Roberts, spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor's office. A home phone number for Lisle's father rang unanswered Tuesday.
Roberts declined to say how Thomas knew Lisle or the juvenile, who was arrested but hasn't been charged. Clay County prosecutors didn't say Monday what, if any, charges he would be facing.
Thomas left his residence around 11 p.m. Friday to take the two suspects home, and his family reported him missing at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Family members found Thomas' vehicle at 7:30 a.m. Saturday near Lisle's residence in northern Kansas City with what appeared to be blood on the exterior.
There also appeared to be a large amount of blood inside the SUV, along with a knife and a knife sheath, police said.
When officers arrived at Lisle's trailer home, they saw him and the juvenile "exiting from underneath the trailer," Kansas City Police Detective Nicholas Sola wrote in the probable cause statement.
The juvenile told investigators Thomas was driving him and Lisle home when he was asked to pull over. He said Lisle grabbed Thomas and started beating him on the head with an unknown object, then they put Thomas in the SUV's cargo area and drove to Smithville Lake. At one point, Lisle poured gasoline on the victim, the boy said, before the two dragged Thomas from the vehicle and into the restroom.
Lisle admitted to investigators that he punched and kicked Thomas in the face and head, court documents said.
Lisle said the juvenile ordered Thomas to give him his PIN number for his bank cards, which Thomas provided, and the two suspects used the cards to withdraw hundreds of dollars from ATM machines. Lisle also told investigators that the juvenile tried to cut off Thomas' ring finger in an attempt to steal his gold ring.