Benton County, Mo. man enters guilty plea in death of four-year-old girl
BENTON COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - One of four suspects charged in the death of a four-year-old Benton County girl pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Ethan Mast, 36, is one of four charged in the death of Jessica Mast. He faced first-degree murder and other charges in the girl’s death. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges on Tuesday. He could face life in prison for the girl’s death.
Prosecutors charged Ethan Mast, Kourtney Aumen, James Mast, and Mary Mast. Aumen faces a second-degree murder charge. James and Mary Mast, the girl’s parents, face first-degree murder charges.
On Dec. 20, 2020, deputies responded to a rural home near Cole Camp and found the four-year-old wrapped in a blanket on a bedroom floor. Investigators said the girl was already dead and had bruises on her body, along with ruptured blisters. Sheriff Eric Knox said the girl’s parents also had been beaten along with a two-year-old child. An infant son of the couple was apparently unharmed.
According to court documents, investigators say neighbors killed a four-year-old girl to “remove a demon.” Investigators say the girl was beaten with a belt, then taken to a pond behind the home and dunked in the water. It remains unclear when the child died.
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