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Defendant pleads no-contest for manslaughter

Victim’s body was found buried near Greenway

Richard Kemo John Hall, 44, entered a no-contest plea to first-degree manslaughter for a homicide that came to light in March 2021 when a body was found buried in a shallow grave off the Bear Creek Greenway, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said.

Hall was sentenced Friday to 180 months in prison, with the first 120 months to be served under Measure 11, with 3 years of post-prison supervision to follow.

The highly decayed body found near the Greenway was later identified as that of Aaron Michael Mather, 46, a homeless man known to law enforcement.

The district attorney’s office stated in its announcement sent out Friday that the autopsy of Mather indicated his cause of death was homicide due to “massive blunt head and facial trauma.”

When Mather was last seen alive is unclear because witnesses provided police with different points in time. Some also said they saw Hall selling off some of Mather’s possessions.

Investigators were told by people on the Greenway that a possible motive for the homicide was that the two men were interested in the same woman.

The woman was found by investigators, and she told them Hall had admitted to killing Mather.

Hall was arrested for a misdemeanor trespassing warrant and denied involvement in Mather’s death during early interviewing by police.

However, during a subsequent interview at the Jackson County Jail, “the defendant made statements that implicated he had gone for a walk with Mr. Mather the last night he had been seen alive, but did not admit to involvement in Mr. Mather’s death,” the D.A’s office stated.

After that interview, Hall was charged with the homicide.

Police were unable to find a possible weapon or forensic evidence linking Hall to the crime after extensive searches in the area where Mather’s body was found, the D.A.’s office explained.

The victim’s family was included in the plea negotiation. Hall’s sentence also requires restitution for Mather’s funeral costs.

Before a plea agreement was reached, this case had been scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 1, a Jackson County Circuit Court document stated.

Reach reporter Terri Harber at 541-776-4468 or email tharber@rosebudmedia.com.