Murder near Aurora occurred 5 days before discovery

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MOUNT VERNON, Mo. - Investigators believe a murder near Aurora occurred five days before it was discovered last week. They believe Nolan Karch, 82, died at his home on Dec. 28 after being shot many times while he was being robbed by Shannon Hensley.

Hensley, 44, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, and armed criminal action. When investigators received information that Hensley was the suspect, he was already in the Lawrence County jail after being arrested by Aurora police on suspicion of illegal possession of a firearm, a crime which investigators believe occurred on Dec. 17.

According to the probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges against Hensley, investigators learned through interviews that a woman dropped off Hensley and another man near Karch’s home at 20497 Lawrence 2207 (old U.S. 60) just east of Aurora on Dec. 28. The two men planned to steal something from Nolan’s home.

After the woman picked up Hensley several hours later, detectives learned, he told her that he went into the home and got into a fight with Karch and shot him several times. The woman told detectives that Hensley said “he kept shooting Nolan until he stayed down.”

Later, the woman received a call from Hensley that he needed another ride from Marionville because a black 1984 Chevrolet El Camino stolen from Karch’s home had a flat tire. The Aurora Marionville Police Department noticed the abandoned El Camino with the flat tire in Marionville on Dec. 29. They found it on Jan. 3 in Marionville after Karch’s murder was discovered on the night of Jan. 2.

Someone told investigators that “a West Coast Chopper bicycle” also was missing from Karch’s home after the murder was discovered. When police arrested Hensley on Jan. 4 on the firearm charge, he was driving a motorhome with the West Coast Chopper bicycle on its back. The robbery charge against Hensley says he also is suspected of stealing a firearm from Karch's home.

Investigators also interviewed the man who was dropped off near Karch’s home on Dec. 28.

“He confirmed they were there to commit a theft,” according to the detective’s probable cause statement.

That man did not appear to be charged for the burglary, robbery and murder, as of Monday morning.

Detectives requested to interview Hensley at the jail last Friday but he requested an attorney. The Lawrence County prosecuting attorney charged him for the murder, burglary, and theft later Friday. He made his first court appearance on Monday morning. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 26. He’s being held without bond.