Clipped From Moberly Monitor-Index
was aged That right n u a l a AIRPLANE SLAYER CHANGES STORY Admits He Lied When Said Murder Victim Intended to Steal Plane INSTRUCTOR SHOT WITHOUT WARNING MACON, Mo., Oct. 31 (AP)-In a new account of the murder an airplane of Carl Bivens, Brookfield, Mo., flying instructor vPros- eeuting Attorney Vincent S. Moody said today Ernest (Larry) Pletch, 29-year-old amateur pilot, had admitted that he shot and killed Bivens without apparent reason 5000 feet in the air. ?'I just don't^ know why I killed him, but I did," Moody quoted Pletch, as saying. The Frankfort, Ind., farmhand, who always had been "crazy" about airplanes, said he had flying lessons from Bivens "as stall" to steal the plane and it to prove sonie of his ^inventions." . . ' . . . ' Admits He Lied Pletch admitted, Moody said, that he had lied when he told Indiana authorities, after his arrest Saturday night, that Bivens had planned to steal the borrowed plane with him and fly to He said in tliat statement thr*t he shot Bivens during a mid-air .quarrel when Bivens "backed Describing Bivens' fatal flight, Pletch related, according to the prosecutor, that after 40 minutes the plane had reached an altitude of 5000 feet and was "zipping along." "Carl was telling me that I had natural ability,^and how I should follow that line," Pletch was quoted as saying. "I had a revolver in my and, without saying a word to I took it out of my overalls 1 fired a bullet into the back his head. He never said a word. He never knew what struck Wedged tlpon Controls "His head fell forward and the throttle -- there are dual controls in a training ship -- and threw it- wide open. His f e wedged upon the controls as body slumped down in the seat. We were both strapped in with safety belts. "The ship began to pitch an4 then to dive. It went crazy remembered reading about a dying man 'stiffening' at the controls, and then I fired another shot into the back of his head." Pletch said he pulled the ship out of the dive at about 1,500 feet and landed, but because he saw people nearby, took off at once. He landed again near Box, Mo., and dragged the body into a thicket, where he left it Â· Moody said he would file murder charges against Pletch in mid-air slaying. The 23-year-old Moody -- Missouri's youngest prosecutor -said, he would not file charges kidnaping and airplane theft against Pletch unless he failed get a conviction on, the murder charge. Closely Guarded j Pletch -- "flying Lochinvar" a 5-day air jaunt last summer which he wooed and lost the of a pretty Illinois girl, -- is,? guarded by a special detail of officers at the county jail here bscause of threats of "revenge" at Bivens' home town. j He was arrested Saturday at Bloornington, Ind,, and was returned here by Missouri officers. A charge of first-degree niur- der was filed against Pletch in j the court of Justice of the W. H. Stanfield. No date for preliminary hearing was set.