Benton County community upset after man accused in child’s death released on bond

Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 10:44 PM CST
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BENTON CO., Mo. (KY3) - It’s been one month since four-year-old Jessica Mast died after authorities say she was beaten to death by two neighbors in Lincoln, Missouri.

Ethan Mast, 35, and Kourtney Aumen, 21, are charged with second-degree murder and other offenses.

The girl’s father, James Mast, 28, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death, endangering the welfare of a child resulting in serious injury. Her mother 29-year-old Mary Mast is charged with endangering the welfare of a child resulting in death and domestic assault.

James Mast was recently released on a $500,000 bond. The court has ordered him to be on house arrest with a GPS monitor, and he’s currently living with his brother.

His lawyer, Scott Rosenblum out of Clayton, Missouri said he’ll be following the bond conditions to the letter.

“Obviously the court believed the court was appropriate for the circumstances. The family was grateful a bond was set. It makes it easier to defend the case when you have better access to your client,” said Attorney Scott Rosenblum.

With James Mast out on bond, many community members in Benton County are upset.

“We’re not staying quiet. We’re not going to let this be a slap on the wrist and be over with and something that just happened in our county,” said Mariah Williams.

Hundreds of community members like Mariah Williams have joined together to support Jessica. Through social media, vigils and even attending court.

“I don’t want anyone to forget about Jessica, or stop talking about Jessica, or advocating for Jessica at any point,” said Williams.

According to court records, the neighbors said they were beating a demon out of the 4-year-old and threatened her parents saying if they didn’t comply they would shoot the family. Mary and James Mast also suffered beatings and authorities believe the beatings had gone on for several weeks.

“Because he is presumed to be innocent. These are allegations and I believe these are allegations that can be defended. We intend to mount a very vigorous defense,” said Rosenblum.

James Mast is due back in court March 2.

“I don’t feel sympathy. I don’t see him as a victim, I see him as a parent who failed to do his job,” said Williams.

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