A central Missouri man was charged Thursday with fatally shooting his 14-year-old classmate in 1991.
William Christopher Niemet, of Fulton, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Greg Jones, whose body was found in June 1991 near a branch of the Moreau River near Russellville. That ended a search that began after his parents, Homer and Janice Jones, called authorities when their son was two hours late for supper on April 24, 1991.
An autopsy found Jones was shot twice in the head.
Niemet, who was 15 at the time, and Jones were classmates, Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said. He was one of several people questioned in the shooting at the time.
Because he was a juvenile at the time, Niemet had to go through juvenile court processes before authorities could certify him to be tried as an adult on Wednesday.
Thompson and Sheriff John Wheeler declined Thursday to discuss what led authorities to Niemet or the circumstances surrounding Jones’ death. They said the investigation is ongoing and urged anyone with information to contact authorities.
Thompson attributed the arrest in part to advancements in technology since 1991. And Wheeler said his office routinely looks at cold cases and had been conducting an ongoing investigation in this case for seven months.
Thompson said authorities met with the Jones family after Niemet’s arrest but they have not made any public comment on the case.
“To the family and friends of Greg Jones, although we realize Greg can never come back, we hope that this is the first step toward the justice and closure that is long overdue,” Thompson said.
Niemet is being held in the Cole County jail. His bond had not been set Thursday afternoon.
KMIZ reports Niemet was arrested in Jones’ death six days after Jones’ body was found. Wheeler declined to comment on that report.
Court documents do not say what Niemet was charged with in juvenile court. The case was eventually dropped and Niemet filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county and then-sheriff John Hemeyer in 1997.
The lawsuit claimed the sheriff used “false information” to imprison Niemet in order to get a confession to the murder. The court dismissed the case, saying Niemet had not shown any proof that Hemeyer fabricated evidence against him.