by Ivan Foley
Authorities believe they have the man responsible for two recent extremely violent crimes in Platte County.
As first reported exclusively by The Landmark on Friday night, Quintin O’Dell, 22, of Platte City has been charged with the murder of Alissa Shippert, 22, of Platte City, last summer and with first degree assault in the stabbing of a Ferrelview woman on Dec. 26.
O’Dell is being held in the Platte County Jail with a cash-only bond of $750,000. Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said his office will be making a determination on whether to seek the death penalty in the murder case against O’Dell.
O’Dell is charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in the killing of Shippert and with first degree assault and armed criminal action for the Dec. 26 stabbing.
The suspect worked with Shippert at the Casey’s General Store in Platte City, and described himself to authorities as a friend of the stabbing victim at Ferrelview.
It is known that O’Dell immediately became a person of interest in the Ferrelview stabbing. Authorities are not divulging when O’Dell became a suspect or person of interest in the Shippert murder.
Zahnd said the death penalty is a possibility because, after initially allegedly striking Shippert in the back of the head with a hatchet, the suspect had a cool down period before allegedly deciding to strike her in the face repeatedly with the hatchet, killing her.
Authorities say O’Dell used the hatchet to kill Shippert at the Platte River inside the Platte Falls Conservation Area on May 31. Her body was found on June 1.
O’Dell allegedly used a razor blade to severely cut--effectively disembowel, authorities say--the stabbing victim in her Ferrelview apartment in the early morning hours of Dec. 26.
The Platte County Sheriff’s Department has previously identified the stabbing victim as Brittany Costello, age 21.
Zahnd and Platte County Sheriff Richard Anderson talked about the crimes at a press conference held at the Platte County Resource Center Saturday morning.
What follows are details of the two cases as described by court documents and by the sheriff. Before proceeding, readers are cautioned that some of the details to follow are quite graphic.
According to court documents, on May 31 O’Dell allegedly killed Shippert near a boat ramp at the Platte Falls Conservation Area.
O’Dell told sheriff’s deputies during an interview on Thursday and Friday that he came upon Shippert while she was fishing in the Platte River. O’Dell said he had been walking along the river, and along his way had found a hatchet in the water under the bridge that crosses the Platte River along Interstate 29. He carried the hatchet with him the rest of his walk.
After visiting with Shippert while she fished for about two hours, O’Dell told investigators that he slipped and lost his balance in the water, coming up downstream from Shippert. O’Dell said Shippert entered the water and was screaming his name, thinking he was drowning or had drowned. After O’Dell eventually was able to regain his footing, he said he walked back toward Shippert. He indicated he yelled back to her, but that she could not hear him. When he reached her, he says she was emotional, thinking he had drowned. He says Shippert slapped him for making her think that he had drowned.
O’Dell says the two then got into a confrontation. O’Dell told authorities they both reached for the hatchet. Authorities allege O’Dell then struck Shippert in the back of the head with the hatchet. Shippert collapsed to the ground crying.
O’Dell told authorities that he could hear Shippert crying and that he wanted to end her suffering. O’Dell allegedly told investigators that he got on his knees beside her and repeatedly struck her in the face with the hatchet until she was no longer breathing or crying. O’Dell allegedly then pulled Shippert’s body into the river.
On Dec. 26, O’Dell allegedly went to the apartment of the 21-year-old woman in Ferrelview. In a Dec. 26 interview with authorities, O’Dell told investigators he left the apartment while she was alive.
During a later interview with deputies, O’Dell allegedly told investigators that, while he was at the woman’s apartment on Dec. 26, he overheard a telephone call in which the woman argued with a recent boyfriend. O’Dell allegedly became enraged as a result of the argument between the woman and her boyfriend, grabbed a razor blade from the counter of the woman’s kitchen and cut open the woman’s abdomen.
In the early stages of the investigation, the recent boyfriend told authorities that he had spoken with the woman on the phone and that O’Dell was at the apartment at that time.
Court documents indicate O’Dell told deputies he recalled seeing the woman’s intestines fall out of her abdomen on the living room floor. He then says he walked out of the apartment, went home and woke up the next morning to find dried blood on his hands and red shirt. O’Dell allegedly threw away the shirt.
The sheriff in his remarks on Saturday said that the woman suffered life-threatening injuries and was unconscious from Dec. 26 until Dec. 30, when she was able to speak with investigators. She told them she remembers passing out after consuming alcohol with O’Dell and then awakening to what she thought were menstrual cramps, only to go into the bathroom and look in the mirror to see her inner organs exposed. She initially collapsed into the bath tub before making her way into the hallway of the apartment complex and knocking on a neighbor’s door across the hall for help.
“She is fortunate to be alive,” Zahnd said.
The victim’s parents were at Saturday’s news conference but did not want to speak with the media.
Anderson said: “Through dogged police work, our detectives were able to connect these two cases. Alissa Shippert’s murder remained front and center in the minds of the community and it remained and will continue to remain on the front burner for our department until we finally bring the killer to justice.”
Zahnd said it could be months or even years before the case against O’Dell goes to trial.
Asked if either victim was sexually assaulted, Zahnd declined comment, saying only that in cases such as these “there is always the possibility of additional charges.”
Authorities declined to say whether they have recovered the hatchet allegedly used in the killing of Shippert.
Zahnd said in his nine years as prosecutor this is only the third case in which he has considered seeking the death penalty.
As of Saturday morning, O’Dell had not hired an attorney, which may mean he will use the public defender’s office to represent him.
O’Dell was asked to come into speak with detectives on Thursday, and the sheriff’s department brought him in for questioning. He was not under arrest when initially brought in and came willingly, authorities said.
The case is being investigated by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department, which has been assisted by the Platte City Police Department, Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas City Police Department, FBI, United States Attorney’s Office, the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, and the Missouri Western University Police Academy.
The prosecution team includes Zahnd, first assistant prosecutor Mark Gibson and assistant prosecutors Justin Kalwei, Myles Perry, and Chris Seufert.
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