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Search warrants reveal new information in death investigation of Nixa, Mo. man

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 12:01 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 4:54 PM CST
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - Search warrants reveal new information in the death of a man in Nixa, Mo, in mid-January.

Police found Zachary Shane Rice, 41, dead from a gunshot wound outside his home on Dunrobin Castle Drive.

In a search warrant released to KY3 News, investigators say they responded to the area because a fuel delivery driver reported hearing shots fired. The investigating officer says another vehicle drove up behind him at a high-speed, flashing bright headlights. The investigating officer says the driver, Cody Smith, got out with his hands in the air and said he had just shot a guy. Investigators say Smith told the officer he had been drinking and Rice became angry over a relationship with a woman. Investigators say Smith told the officer both had guns. Police found both a pistol and a shotgun on the scene.

In the search warrant affidavit, Rice’s girlfriend told investigators Smith executed her boyfriend. In it, she claims said Rice was threatening Smith’s life for being belligerently drunk and that’s when Smith shot him. She said Smith took off when she said she was calling the cops.

Police say a neighbor’s security camera shows three people outside, one with a long slender object in his hand, consistent with the shotgun they found on scene, and a flash consistent with a muzzle flash.

Smith was initially taken into custody, but then released, free of charges. Christian County prosecutor Amy Fite says she can’t comment about the ongoing investigation.

“Our ethical obligation is that we will not make any extra judicial statement that we know may have a substantial likelihood of causing public condemnation,” Fite says.

But she says often, investigations take longer than the public would like.

“There’s just a whole variety and spectrum of things that could be going on in any investigation,” says Fite, “and those things just take time. It’s unfortunate. It is not intended. No one is not trying to be transparent.”

“It is frustrating. I know that the wheels of justice turn slow,” says Reed Herron, Rice’s friend. “You know, we all want justice for our friend.”

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