A seven-year murder case that had several ties to Texas County concluded with another defendant pleading guilty last week, the Douglas County prosecutor said Friday.

In a surprise move, Nathan Jensen, 33, entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. His conviction was earlier reversed in July 2017 by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Wade offered a plea deal in July 2018, but expected to go to trial. “I was stunned that Jensen pled guilty knowing his history of refusing any plea offers,” Wade said. A trial was set for Oct. 1-5 in Waynesville.

Another man, Christopher Jorgensen, 36, is in the South Central Correctional Center at Licking after a conviction of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

The charges stem from the brutal death of Kenny Stout, 17, of Republic, formerly of Ava, in December 2011.

According to Wade, Jorgensen and Jensen met Kenny Stout at a former gas station at Ava. They drove him to an abandoned wooded lot near the golf course. Once there, the two attacked Stout with fists, feet and aluminum baseball bats, Wade said. They dragged his body to a dozer deck and left. They later returned and stabbed him several times resulting in his death, the prosecutor said. Evidence in the case entered up in Texas County.

Wade said Jensen later went to Mansfield to hide at a friend’s house. Later, Jorgensen tried to kill Jensen, the only witness,  by secretly placing a .25-caliber pistol to his head, but it misfired twice and Jensen ran into the countryside where he landed at a stranger’s house and later told authorities about the attempt on his life.

Wade said Jorgensen and a friend took Jensen’s car to Houston, where it was left at McDonald’s. Jensen’s wallet and computer was thrown into Austin Lake in the county. The Texas County Sheriff’s Department — during the Watson administration — joined the investigation. Jensen led authorities to Stout’s body. Divers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol found the two bats and the knife in a pond at a friend’s house in Texas County. Wade said a small backhoe was discovered that was going to be used to dig a hole to bury Stout.

Jensen is set to be sentenced at 1 p.m. Nov. 5 in Waynesville before Circuit Judge John Beger.

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