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by PJ Rooks
Landmark reporter

A 20-year-old Platte City man is facing second degree murder charges after his girlfriend’s father was found beaten to death early Friday morning.

Just after midnight, police arrived at the Platte City home of 45-year-old Kerry Deyo, 1812 Gates Drive West, and found him unresponsive and lying on the floor between the hallway and a bedroom, according to the probable cause statement filed by Platte City police with the Platte County prosecutor’s office.

Deyo was pronounced dead at the scene after attempts by police officers and employees of the Northland Regional Ambulance District failed to revive him.

Ann Deyo, the victim’s wife, told police that her daughter, Sarah Deyo, 21, had returned home from the Platte County Fair intoxicated and arguing with her boyfriend, Brandon Lyn Church. From here, in the probable cause statement, Church, Deyo and her daughter Sarah, gave slightly different accounts of what happened.

According to the statement, Ann Deyo told police that her husband had attempted to intervene in the argument and “ended up on the floor with Church sitting on top.”

She said that Church repeatedly hit her husband in the face with his fists then had said to her daughter, “I don’t think he’s breathing. Let’s get out of here.”

Ann Deyo told police that Church then left with Sarah Deyo, with Church kicking her husband as he passed by.

In Sarah Deyo’s account of the event to police, her father jumped into an argument that she and Church were having, then grabbed her and hit her, prompting Church to “tackle” the father and “choke him out.”

Sarah Deyo denied to police that Church had hit her father and stated that she had been extremely drunk at the time and was only able to recall the incident in fragments.

In a second conversation with police, Sarah Deyo said that she had been upset by the argument between herself and Church and had been trying to leave when her father hit her in an effort to stop her from driving drunk.

After the assault, and with Sarah Deyo at the wheel, the two fled the scene and were apprehended later. Sarah Deyo told police that while they were driving after the assault, Church had spoken of killing them both by running the car into something.

The fleeing young couple were eventually located and stopped by an officer from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in southern Platte County.
Finally, in a very brief exchange between Church and an officer at the Platte County Detention Center, Church said that Kerry Deyo attacked him and bit his arm. “What was I supposed to do? I wasn’t going to take that,” said Church according to the probable cause statement.
If convicted of the second degree murder charge, Church could face life in prison. He is being held on a $250,000 cash only bond.

With a $5,000 cash-only bond, Sarah Deyo was also still listed among the Platte County Detention Center population as of Tuesday morning on the charge of supplying a minor (Church) with alcohol.

If convicted, Deyo faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. She was also arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and may face further charges.

According to public records information available on Missouri Case.net, Church was incarcerated for several days last year after a series of failures to appear and inability to pay fines for charges including driving while intoxicated, speeding in excess of 20 miles per hour, operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner, minor visibly intoxicated with blood alcohol content of .02% or more, and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.

For charges of driving while intoxicated and minor visibly intoxicated/ BAC .02% or more, Sarah Deyo had been nearing the end of a two-year probation that began on Jan. 13, 2010.

The killing of Deyo is the second homicide to occur in the Platte City area this summer. On June 1, 22-year-old Alyssa Shippert, a Casey’s General Store employee, was found along the bank of the Platte River at the Platte Falls Conservation Area just east of Platte City. That case remains under investigation, no arrests have been made.

An obituary for Deyo appears on page B-3 of this issue of The Landmark.