MARSHFIELD, Mo. – The Webster County prosecuting attorney charged three men from the Rogersville area for the shooting death of a man from Springfield last month. Investigators believe Alfred Clevenger, 47, Kevin Layton, 40, and Dewayne Layton, 43, were all present when Dewayne Layton shot Billy Harris at the home of all three men at 94 Corner Road south of Rogersville on Jan. 15.
The Webster County Sheriff’s Department started investigating Harris’ disappearance and murder on Feb. 21. The next day, they served a search warrant at the home. A judge issued warrants for the arrests of all three men last Friday.
Clevenger and Kevin Layton are in custody. Dewayne Layton, the suspected shooter, is on the run and the sheriff says he may have gone to California. Clevenger and the Laytons told investigators that he left Missouri a couple of weeks after the murder.
The investigation started after a state trooper tried to stop a car driven by Hannah Tilley. A short pursuit, Tilley was arrested for several outstanding warrants. Springfield detectives then interviewed Tilley about Harris’ disappearance, which was reported to the Springfield Police Department on Jan. 26. His family said they hadn't seen him since Jan. 15.
A probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges says Tilley told detectives that she was at the home on Corner Road and saw Dewayne Layton pick up a .22-caliber revolver and shoot Harris in the face in a bedroom in the mobile home. She said Harris fell dead on a bed.
Tilley told detectives that she tried to leave but was afraid she might also be shot because Kevin Layton pointed a shotgun at her. She said Clevenger took her back to Springfield several hours later. Tilley told detectives that it took the three men a few hours to make a homemade stretcher from a carpet.
The probable cause statement says Clevenger told detectives that he was present when Dewayne Layton shot Harris. He said he buried the handgun at the base of a tree a few miles away in Christian County. He also said he helped Dewayne Layton cover the body with a tarp, put it in Kevin Layton’s pickup, dump it in a wooded area along Highway B north of Rogersville, and cover it with branches.
Clevenger told detectives that he and Dwayne Layton removed the mattress, carpet and carpet padding from the bedroom where Harris was shot. He said they burned those items along with the clothes that the men were wearing at the time.
Sheriff Roye Cole says Clevenger led investigators to Harris’ body, the buried handgun and the place where the carpet, mattress and clothing were burned. The handgun was buried in a Christmas stocking and near a cemetery. Cole said in an interview on Monday that he thinks Harris was killed because of some kind of disagreement over a vehicle.
Clevenger is charged with tampering with evidence, second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Dewayne Layton is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Kevin Layton is charged with felonious restraint and second-degree murder.
A judge set bonds for Clevenger and Kevin Layton at $250,000. They were in the Webster County jail on Monday.