A Northland man was acquitted Thursday of a murder charge that stemmed from the grisly discovery of a dismembered corpse in his Kansas City basement in 2019.
The jury trial for Colton Stock, 33, ended with a verdict of not guilty on counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action that were brought by a grand jury indictment in Clay County. The jury did find Stock guilty of abandoning a corpse and tampering with evidence in a felony prosecution.
For the past three years, Stock has been held in the Clay County jail as he awaited his trial. Prosecutors alleged he murdered Matthew Calkins, a Johnson County man who was a 2002 graduate of the Kansas School for the Deaf.
Authorities have said Calkins was shot and killed sometime between May 3 and May 5 in 2019. His body was discovered on May 5 after police were called to investigate a report of gunfire coming from a residence in the 5600 block of North Poe Street and a fire was discovered in the basement.
Firefighters extinguished the flames to find a human torso underneath a tarp that was later determined to be Calkins. His head, arms and legs were not located by authorities at the home.
Prosecutors have said a bullet removed from the torso matched a firearm found inside the residence that had Stock's DNA on the grip and the trigger.
Executing a search warrant, detectives found next to the human remains a partially burned storage container that contained a reciprocating saw with apparent blood, hair fibers and flesh on the blade, according to a probable cause statement.
Stock was seen on surveillance footage May 4 purchasing the saw at a Home Depot with a woman, court records show. She later told police she thought the tool was for remodeling.
Police also found a bottle of bleach, lighter fluid and mops, according to court records. In a black Honda Accord outside, detectives found two cellphones and spent .38 caliber shell casings in a bag. A preliminary autopsy showed Calkins was shot twice, ruling his cause of death a gunshot wound to the back.
Authorities have also said Stock and Calkins knew one another and had a "drug relationship." An alleged motive for the crime raised during the early stages of the investigation suggested Calkins may have taken something from Stock.
Among the evidence gathered against Stock was the witness account of Floyd Wood, a 56-year-old man who alleged Stock had called him asking about Calkins' whereabouts so he could "have a little talk and scare him a little bit," according to charging documents.
Calkins was with Stock when Wood last saw him alive on May 4, 2019, Wood told detectives. The next day, Stock asked Wood to look at a motorcycle in the basement, and Wood told police he was assaulted by Stock. Wood reported hearing a gunshot as he fled.
Wood was found dead two months later in Claycomo as Stock was being held in the Clay County jail. Authorities suspected Wood was the victim of foul play.
A defense attorney for Stock could not be reached for comment late Thursday. The Clay County prosecutor's office declined to comment beyond the details of the case's outcome on Thursday evening.
The jury recommended Stock spend four years in prison for each of those convictions. A sentencing hearing in the case had yet to be scheduled as of Thursday.
The Star's Luke Nozicka and Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report.