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Tamaqua man charged in Missouri stabbing death

A 20-year-old Tamaqua man has been charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the stabbing of a man in Missouri last Wednesday.

The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post they responded to the Economy Inn Motel in St. James, Missouri, for what is now classified as a homicide.

After investigating, they determined Josue Martinez, 20, of Tamaqua, and his girlfriend, Kimberly D. Riston, 20 , of Banning, California, were responsible for the death of Donald Coy Wethy, 36, of St. James, Missouri.

He was stabbed and died in the parking lot of the inn.

Martinez and Riston are charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with a motor vehicle, police said. Both are in the Phelps County Jail, with no bail set, an employee said Monday.

According to an article in the Phelps County Focus, the incident was captured on surveillance footage from the Economy Inn in St. James.

The footage shows Martinez approaches Wethy while he was standing in the inn’s parking lot next to the open rear passenger door of a car.

Surveillance shows Martinez cornered Wethy and Riston came out of the motel room with a dog on a leash. She approached Martinez and Wethy, and Martinez stabbed Wethy twice.

Court documents say Wethy attempted to run away but tripped over the dog and fell. Martinez stabbed Wethy approximately 12 more times until he stopped moving.

The surveillance footage shows Martinez searched Wethy’s pockets after the stabbing and took items. Riston is seen putting the dog into the vehicle Wethy was standing at and getting into its front passenger seat. A short time later, they got out and walk away. The documents allege Martinez and Riston were attempting to steal the vehicle but were unable to locate its keys.

The suspects were caught after information was provided to law enforcement and sent out to the Everbridge notification system. An off duty Phelps County Corrections officer and her husband, a police officer, received the alert. They saw the two walking near a highway in another county and contacted authorities, who took Martinez and Riston into custody without incident.

Numerous public safety agencies and the public aided in the search for the suspects.

Josue Martinez
Kimberly D. Riston