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Judge hands down life sentence in NEMO murder case

MGN Online

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced that Calloway County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Harris has sentenced Jason Lee Lage, 36, to life in prison for the murder of 26-year old Zachary Dawson of Madison, MO. Lage was also sentenced to an additional 50 years for armed criminal action. In March, Lage was found guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

In February of 2014, Lage shot Dawson in the back of the head in the victim's home during what Lage would later admit was an attempted robbery.

Lage and a girlfriend, Jessica Derboven Munoz, then cleaned up the crime scene and fled while Dawson, who had survived the gunshot, lay dying. Lage was caught when Munoz, who attempted to provide Lage with a false alibi, confessed.

Lage suggested to law enforcement that Dawson committed suicide in front of him and Munoz. Munoz testified she was not in the room when the shot was fired, and a cellmate of Lage testified that Lage confessed to becoming jealous of Dawson, developing a plan to rob him once Dawson let Lage examine a personal firearm, and he waited until Munoz went to the bathroom before murdering the victim.

“Mr. Lage demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life,” Hawley said. “My office will continue to prosecute those individuals who commit violent crimes to the fullest extent of the law. I hope Zachary Dawson’s family finds some solace in this sentencing.”

The case was jointly tried by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick and Assistant Attorney General Monty Platz on a change of venue from Monroe County.

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