Police search lake for weapon in AT&T technician murder case - KCTV5

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Ex-convict charged in death of AT&T technician makes 1st court appearance

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The search for a crowbar allegedly used in the attack of the At&T worker continues at Chaumiere Lake just west of Northeast 43rd Terrace and North Cleveland Avenue in Kansas City, MO. The search for a crowbar allegedly used in the attack of the At&T worker continues at Chaumiere Lake just west of Northeast 43rd Terrace and North Cleveland Avenue in Kansas City, MO.
Clay County authorities charged 35-year-old Bryan J. Middlemas with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and armed criminal action. Clay County authorities charged 35-year-old Bryan J. Middlemas with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and armed criminal action.
Kevin M. Mashburn died early Wednesday after he was clubbed in the head with a crowbar during an overnight shift in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone. Kevin M. Mashburn died early Wednesday after he was clubbed in the head with a crowbar during an overnight shift in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The man charged with killing an AT&T worker in Gladstone faced a judge Monday afternoon.

Bryan Middlemas, 35, who has a record of arrests for drugs and assault, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and attempted robbery in the murder of Kevin Mashburn, who was found badly beaten inside his company truck.

Middlemas made his first court appearance at the Clay County courthouse on Monday. He didn't say much in court, but in court documents, he allegedly gave a lot details about the crime to an old cell mate.

He allegedly called that friend just a few hours after Mashburn was attacked. He allegedly beat the AT&T worker, who was on a service call last Wednesday at an apartment complex in Gladstone, with a crowbar because he wouldn't give up his wallet.  

Mashburn, 58, was taken to North Kansas City Hospital at 3:45 a.m., where he died from his injuries.

Middlemas also allegedly told an old cell mate that he threw the crowbar in a nearby pond or lake, which is why the Metro Squad called the Overland Park Dive Team.

Police have been looking for the key piece of evidence in the body of water at Chaumiere Lake just west of Northeast 43rd Terrace and North Cleveland Avenue in Kansas City, MO.

They searched the lake on Sunday and found nothing, so that was why they were back again Monday.

"We are not 100 percent sure it is there, but Metro Squad asked us to assist them in the investigation," said Sgt. Roger Pesek with the Overland Park Dive Team.

Dive members said the search is difficult because of very poor visibility.

"Everything is underwater because of silt and mud. Everything is completely black, and it is done by touch," Pesek said.

The lake is about two acres long and 15 feet deep in some areas. The dive team feels confident if the weapon is there, they have the equipment and the skills to pull it up.

"We have got a person walking up and down the bank. He is the line taker. The bag he is carrying has communication in it connected to the diver, so while the diver is searching he is communicating with shore personnel," Pesek said.

Searchers focused on the areas of the lake they call high probability areas.

"Basically, a little further out you would expect a man to throw an object, then working our way back in shore from there," Pesek said.

When police interviewed Middlemas, he stated he commonly used a pry bar for his construction. A search warrant was obtained for his truck. His tools were located but his pry bar was missing.  Divers did not find it during their search of the lake on Monday, and there is no word yet if they plan to search that lake again Tuesday.

In the case police have against Middlemas, authorities said Mashburn made a call for help while locked inside his truck. Using an instant messaging program, Mashburn's first call for help came at 2:52 a.m. last Wednesday. AT&T dispatch logs show his message as, "I need you to call me an ambulance. I have been attacked." The conversation lasted a little more than 30 minutes.

Middlemas' bond was set at $1 million, and if he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty or life in prison.

The prosecutor would not comment Monday about whether he will seek the death penalty in the case.

Click here and here to read previous coverage.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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Sidebar: AT&T worker slain, Keith Mashburn

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AT&T worker Keith Mashburn was slain during a service call. His employer offered a $100,000 reward and an arrest was made. A man is accused of brutally attacking and killing Mashburn during a robbery. More>>

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