City of Columbia Missouri Police Department Police Department

600 E. Walnut Street
Columbia, MO 65201


July 29, 2020

CONTACT: Brittany Hilderbrand
Community Relations Specialist/Public Information Officer
Columbia Police Department
City of Columbia

Jeff Pitts
Community Relations Specialist/Public Information Officer
Columbia Police Department
City of Columbia

Columbia Police holds press conference relating to July 25 homicide


The Columbia Police Department held a press conference Wednesday, July 29, to share information and request the community's assistance in locating a suspect in relation to the homicide of Joseph Hecht, 38, of Sturgeon, Missouri, on Sunday, July 25. 

At approximately 12:40 a.m., Columbia Police responded to a report of shots fired in the area of South 8th Street and Locust Street. Upon arrival, officers learned there was one victim that sustained injuries from a gunshot, however, he had been taken to a local emergency room in a personal vehicle prior to officers' arrival. 

During the investigation, one suspect was identified as Kesan Tyree McNeal, 23, of Columbia. He was arrested for 2nd-degree murder and remanded in the custody of the Boone County Jail. 

While working together, detectives and officers were able to identify the second suspect as Marlin Cortez Johnson, 24, of Columbia. At this time, Johnson is still at large. He is wanted for 2nd degree murder and armed criminal action. He is described as a black male who is 5'10, has brown eyes, dreads, tattoos on his left shoulder and right forearm and weighs approximately 160 pounds.

"We will not tolerate the acts of those who prey on others. The safety and well-being of all of our residents is important and we will not stand by and allow senseless acts of gun violence consume our communities without action," said Police Chief Geoff Jones. "We appreciate the support of everyone who is willing to provide details relating to this case and any future cases."

Johnson is considered to be armed and dangerous. If you know his whereabouts or see him, please call 911 immediately or call CrimeStoppers at 573.875.TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous. 

Case number 2020-006570

City of Columbia Vision
Columbia is the best place for everyone to live, work, learn and play.

City of Columbia Mission
To serve the public through democratic, transparent and efficient government.