Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in Marijuana Oil Killing
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a Chicago man charged in the death of his marijuana oil dealing partner whose remains were found in rural Missouri.
A notice requesting the sentence for Joseph McKenna, 26, was filed last week in Miller County in central Missouri. McKenna is jailed without bond on charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with a witness in the June 2018 death of 34-year-old Tyler Worthington of North San Juan, California. His attorney, Joel Schwartz, didn’t immediately return a phone message.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant wrote in the probable cause statement that Worthington supplied marijuana oil to McKenna for use in e-cigarettes. Worthington’s fiancee said Worthington flew on June 2 to Chicago, where he planned to meet up with McKenna and another man to drive to Missouri to “do a job,” the statement said.
Toll road cameras show McKenna and another man in a pickup truck pass through a toll booth headed out of Chicago on June 4 around the same time as Worthington, who was behind the wheel of a rental car. McKenna and co-defendant Tyler Kroll of Lisle, Illinois, returned about 16 hours later without Worthington, the sergeant wrote.
A farmer found Worthington’s body on June 11 near Tuscumbia, about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Columbia, Missouri. Court records say Worthington had been shot in the head and dragged into the woods. The rental car that Worthington was driving remains missing
During a search of Worthington’s home, police found invoices showing a large number of new vapor cartridges, as well as equipment to fill those cartridges, were purchased by and shipped to McKenna Services in Chicago. Police also found more than 500 pounds of processed marijuana and green houses with hundreds of marijuana plants.
An associate said McKenna had threatened to kill Worthington because of a dispute over money. Under questioning, McKenna denied going to Missouri and indicated that he and his passenger stopped a few hours outside of Chicago and loaded illegal drugs into Worthington’s vehicle before Worthington left alone, the sergeant wrote.
But when McKenna and his girlfriend were arrested in August in Arkansas, they were in possession of 68 pounds (30.84 kilograms) of marijuana and a handgun that later was identified as the weapon used to fire the shell casing found at the homicide scene. The tampering charge stems from allegations that McKenna told a witness to “watch his back.”
Kroll, the co-defendant, is charged with first-degree murder in the case. No attorney is listed for Kroll in online court records. He was released in April on $750,000 bond.