Police lights


A California, Missouri, man has been charged with murder in a death that police initially said was because of natural causes.

The Moniteau County prosecutor charged James L. Collier on Wednesday with first-degree murder and assault of a special victim. California police called the Missouri State Highway Patrol early Wednesday for help with a death investigation in an apartment at 310 S. East St., according to a probable cause statement released by California police.

Officers found a dead person inside the apartment and Collier with blood on his clothing, according to the statement. Collier head-butted a Moniteau County deputy and later told officers under interrogation that "this was my fault," police allege. Police say he also made a statement admitting to the murder while in a room at the jail, and the statement was picked up by a body-worn camera.

Collier later admitted in another interrogation to fighting with the victim, saying he didn't remember exactly what happened.

Collier was jailed without bond. No hearings have been set in his case and no lawyer is listed for him in online court records.

California police had said Wednesday that the death was from natural causes. Police released no other information until the probable cause statement was released Thursday.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.