3 adults charged in beating death of small-town teenager

LEBANON, Mo. | Three people were charged Tuesday with murder in the death of a Lebanon teenager whose skull was fractured by a baseball bat in a brawl in a city park.

Police said the fight was over text messages to the girlfriend of one of the alleged assailants, Jerry Broyles.

Laclede County prosecutors charged Broyles, 25, and Terry Dunkin, 32, with first-degree murder and Terry’s wife, Kimberly Dunkin, 36, with second-degree murder in the death of Zachary Jones. Broyles and Terry Dunkin have the same mother, police said in a probable cause statement.

Jones, 17, died Monday from multiple fractures to his skull, police said.

Police said Jones and Matthew Bankston had been sending text messages to Broyles’ girlfriend and arranged a meeting at the park Sunday night with Broyles and several others.

When they met, Broyles and his brother started hitting the two younger men with bats and a metal rod, according to the probable cause statement from police.

Bankston is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.

Prosecutors said all three people charged were in jail. Broyles and Terry Dunkin were denied bond, and Kimberly Dunkin was being held in lieu of a $250,000 cash bond.

Lebanon, a small manufacturing town of about 13,000 people on Interstate 44 in southern Missouri, has had one previous murder this year after none in 2006.