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Man convicted of Joplin murder feat in upcoming Netflix Crime Documentary

JOPLIN, Mo. (KOAM-TV 7) — Netflix is poised to release I Am a Killer Season 4 on December 21. The trailer is out and features Joplin, Missouri, convicted killer Gary Black.

This season features interviews with current inmates, some on Death Row, and their current situations according to a media release on the British Crime Documentary.

Gary W. Black was convicted twice in Jasper County Jury Trials of First Degree Murder and sentenced to Death for the 1998 stabbing of Jason Johnson at the intersection of 5th and S. Joplin Ave in Joplin.

Black’s girlfriend, Tammy Lawson, was upset because she believed Johnson had tried to make a pass at her while they were in line at Snak Attack, E. 4th and S. St. Louis. Johnson was black, Gary Black and his girlfriend, white.

Black followed the vehicle Johnson was riding in a short distance to Joplin’s Downtown Bar District. During an exchange of words Black exited his vehicle and reached inside fatally stabbing Johnson in the neck.

While during a third trial in 2010 just as a Cass County jury was being selected for a new trial, Black took a plea bargain, avoiding the death penalty by filing an Alford Plea (guilty plea in which a defendant maintains their innocence but admits that the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict if brought to trial).

Black, now 72, is currently serving a life sentence at Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, Mo.

The Netflix trailer shows Gary Black being wheeled out towards cameras in a wheelchair with chains and shackles in slow motion. Black’s voice is heard above the video.

“These guards will tell you, I live in an administrative segregation unit. Until just six months ago I was in isolation in a one man cell for almost two years. They don’t know what to do with me here, that’s right they don’t know what to do with me here. And I don’t care.”

Then images of other inmates interviewed for the series flash on the screen with ominous music.

State of Missouri vs. Gary W. Black

Missouri Supreme Court Case Number: SC82279

Case Facts: 

On the evening of October 2, 1998, Andrew Martin, Mark Wolfe and victim Jason O. Johnson met at a Joplin restaurant.

After eating dinner and drinking beer, they decided to go to a downtown nightclub. Martin and the victim got into Martin’s 1996 Ford F-150 pickup, while Wolfe followed in his Camaro.

En route, they stopped at a convenience store. Martin and Wolfe remained in their vehicles while the victim entered the store and purchased a 40-ounce bottle of beer and a can of chewing tobacco. While in line, the victim stood behind Tammy S. Lawson. The jury viewed a tape of the victim and Lawson together in line.

Lawson was the girlfriend of defendant Gary W. Black, who was also parked outside the store. When the victim exited the store, Lawson pointed him out to the defendant. (During the penalty phase, Lawson testified that she was upset and told defendant that the victim made “a pass” at her.)

The victim and Martin then left the store in the pickup, with Wolfe following in his Camaro. Defendant and Lawson were in defendant’s car, close behind the Camaro.

When Martin stopped at the stoplight at 5th and Joplin, defendant pulled alongside in the right lane. Defendant began to “exchange words” with the victim. Defendant got out of his car, reached through the passenger window of the pickup, and stabbed the victim in the neck, nearly severing his carotid artery and completely severing his jugular vein.

Defendant immediately returned to his car. Victim left the pickup, staggered over to defendant’s car, and threw the bottle of beer at him. It is unclear whether the bottle struck defendant. (It did become clear during penalty phase that leaving the scene, defendant commented, “One nigger down,” and threw the knife out the car window.) Defendant then fled to Oklahoma.

The stab wound — 4.5 to 6 inches deep — bled profusely. Bystanders attempted to slow the bleeding with clothing and towels. Paramedics arrived to find the victim unresponsive, from massive blood loss. Blood drained into the victim’s airway, depriving him of oxygen. The victim died three days later.

Defendant was arrested in Oklahoma on a Missouri warrant. During inventory, police found an empty knife sheath in his car. Based on a statement by Tammy Lawson, an officer found the knife in a grassy area near a cemetery, about 20 blocks from the crime scene.

After deliberating less then two hours, the jury found defendant guilty of first degree murder. The jury later recommended the death penalty, finding two statutory aggravators — prior serious assaultive convictions and depravity of mind. The trial court sentenced the defendant to death

I Am A Killer season 4 is set to release on December 21, 2022, and will be available for streaming on Netflix.

Stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to cover news and stories where you live. Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email list so you don’t miss an article.

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Lake of the Ozarks resort purchases sign of fictional lodge it inspired

CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Lake of the Ozarks is the setting of the Netflix drama series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Recently as the 4th and final season finished wrapping the sets were being dismantled in Georgia and sold off.

 An interesting opportunity came for the actual Alhonna Resort in Sunrise Beach, Missouri, to get the iconic sign from the fictional lodge it inspired, The Blue Cat Lodge. 

“Our realtor called and said the set director asked if we wanted to purchase the Blue Cat Lodge sign for Alhonna.  Without a doubt…Yes!” they state in a release of information on FB.

It seems they are still trying to find the best place for it as they pose for a photo in front of the newly arrived sign in Missouri.

But wherever it lands will be perfect for fans and followers to enjoy, “The Blue Cat Lodge sign is where it belongs and will be available for photo ops this season!”

Ozark, first released in 2017. Bateman plays a normal financial planner family man who suddenly relocates from a Chicago suburb to Lake of the Ozarks to try and pay off a debt to a Mexican drug lord.

The fictional show is set at a modest waterfront resort at Lake of the Ozarks, inspired by the real-life place Alhonna Resort where series creator Bill Dubuque worked as a dock hand at the resort while he was at school in Missouri during the 1980s.

Rather than filming at the Lake of the Ozarks, most of the shooting locations are in the Atlanta area because of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia.  The film crew constructed a set in Georgia after extensively studying the Alhonna Resort property in Missouri.

The 4th and final season is 14 episodes and broke into two parts. The first part released in January 2022. The second half is still to come.

They also give a shout of thanks to their realtor, Mike Swift of Swift and Co. Realty.

About Alhonna Resort … “Located at the 8 mile marker off Horseshoe Bend, the Alhonna Resort is owned and operated by the Gross family.  Over the last 37 years, we have played host to thousands of visitors who have chosen again and again to call Alhonna Resort their home at the Lake!”

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New autopsy finds Kansas Black man’s 2004 death was homicide

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – The case of a Black man who died following a party in rural Kansas more than 16 years ago has been ruled a homicide after his body was exhumed as federal authorities investigate his death as a possible hate crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday that a new autopsy on the body of Alonzo Brooks concluded the cause of death was homicide. His body was exhumed last year from a Topeka cemetery and transported to Dover Air Force Base for an examination.

(Previous story: FBI gives update as investigation continues into 2004 La Cygne cold case)

Brooks was 23 when he disappeared after attending a party near La Cygne, Kansas, in May 2004. His family later found his body in a creek near where the party was held.

The FBI reopened the investigation in 2019 and offered a $100,000 reward for information.

Federal authorities say Brooks’ death was possibly racially motivated. He was one of only three Black people at a party attended by about 100 people at a farm near La Cygne.

“We knew that Alonzo Brooks died under very suspicious circumstances,” Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said in a news release. “This new examination by a team of the world’s best forensic pathologists and experts establishes it was no accident. Alonzo Brooks was killed. We are doing everything we can, and will spare no resources, to bring those responsible to justice.”

The new autopsy focused on injuries to parts of Brooks’ body that the examiner concluded are inconsistent with normal patterns of decomposition, the FBI said.

“The FBI’s commitment to justice remains at the forefront of each and every investigation,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Langan. “Our reach is broad, and the strength of our investigative tools are exceptional. We remain dedicated to uncovering the truth surrounding the murder of Alonzo Brooks and ensuring those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”

The Alonzo Brooks case was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix.