Two suspects were arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder in the beating and strangling of David L. McKibben, a 71-year-old Joplin resident who served as treasurer of the First Baptist Church.

Joplin police investigators obtained arrest warrants for Anthony M. Carter, 21, and Kristopher M. Smith, 26, both Joplin area residents. Kansas City police took Smith into custody about 12:30 p.m., while Joplin police located Carter about an hour later near Sergeant Avenue and 16th Street and arrested him.

Both men are being held without bond pending initial court appearances.

McKibben’s body was discovered shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday at his apartment at 201 N. Wall Ave. The complaint sheets charging Carter and Smith state that McKibben was beaten and strangled.

An autopsy performed Sunday determined that the death was a homicide. But police were still declining to discuss the cause of death after the arrests Wednesday afternoon.

“We still have several interviews to do, including both of those we just arrested,” said police Lt. Matt Stewart.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court states that Smith and Carter “told at least two separate people that they went to the home of Mr. McKibben” late Friday or early Saturday, “where they assaulted and maybe killed Mr. McKibben and stole items from his residence.”

A friend of the victim said that McKibben had been at his home for dinner Friday night and had left with the explanation that he needed to meet someone at 9 p.m.

Stewart would not discuss what connection McKibben may have had with Smith and Carter or what items were taken from his apartment. He also declined to say whether police believe Smith and Carter went to McKibben’s place with the intention of robbing him or stole the items as an afterthought.

A police news release announcing the arrests stated that detectives believe the suspects “targeted” McKibben, and that the crime was “not a random act of violence.”

Stewart said tips received from the public helped identify Smith and Carter as suspects.

McKibben was an Army veteran and was described as a devout member of the First Baptist Church in Joplin, where he served as church treasurer. He was an office manager and salesman with a local manufacturer of metal siding before retiring a few years ago. He is survived by three brothers.

Police and court records show a Joplin address for Carter. The police news release stated that Smith also is from Joplin, but a Carl Junction address is shown on both a charge sheet and his arrest warrant.

Third homicide

THE BEATING AND STRANGULATION of David McKibben is the third death this year in Joplin that has been determined to be a homicide.

This Week's Circulars

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.