PINEVILLE, Mo. — A McDonald County judge on Wednesday refused to lower the bond of a defendant being held on murder charges in the fatal beating of a Neosho man.

Clarence Anderson, 56, of rural Seneca, appeared in McDonald County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the slaying of 34-year-old Joshua J. Collier.

The hearing was reset at the request of prosecutor Bill Dobbs, who told the judge that key witnesses in the case were in Texas and more time was needed to get them in court for a preliminary hearing. Two grandchildren of the defendant are cited as key witnesses in the probable-cause affidavit filed with the charges against Anderson.

Associate Judge John LePage granted the state's request for a continuance and reset the hearing for Sept. 25.

Public defender Charles Oppelt subsequently requested that his client's cash-only bond of $25,000 be lowered in light of the hearing being delayed for three more weeks. Anderson has been in custody on the charges since June 25 and has not been able to make bond. Oppelt asked that the cash-only restriction be removed and his client be allowed to post a surety bond instead.

Dobbs opposed the motion, arguing that a $25,000 bond was more than reasonable in a murder case. The judge agreed with the prosecutor and denied the bond-reduction request.

Collier was taken to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin on April 20 when two women discovered him in critical condition inside his home in Neosho. He died 10 days later at the hospital. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be complications from blunt force trauma to the head.

For a few weeks, the Newton County Sheriff's Department was unable to determine how and where Collier had sustained his injuries. But investigators eventually developed information that he had been beaten with a baseball bat on April 19 during a confrontation with Anderson at the defendant's residence on Britt Lane in northwest McDonald County.

Collier is believed to have reached an agreement with Anderson a couple of days previously to rent an outbuilding on his property. But when he showed up there on his motorcycle April 19, Anderson opened the door and told him to leave because he was upset about Collier having brought another man to his house whom Anderson did not like.

The probable-cause affidavit states that Anderson admitted that an argument took place during which he hit Collier with a metal bat and later sold the victim's motorcycle for $50. He told investigators that he hit Collier in the side with a single swing of the bat but could not recall having hit him more than once. His grandson, however, told the investigator that he saw Anderson hit Collier at least twice, including once in the head, according to the affidavit.

Anderson's girlfriend, Kathy L. Kay, 55, is charged with hindering prosecution in the case.

The grandson and a granddaughter told investigators that Kay walked Collier to the outbuilding following the beating and had him lie down there for the night. They said the next day, she had them help her take him home to Neosho and then help her clean the bat, his motorcycle and the mattress in the outbuilding where he had slept.

Kay is currently free on a $1,500 bond.

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