Photo caption: Joshua Toole, 29 of Rolla, pleaded guilty to murder from 2015, where victim, Daniel Hunter, was shot to death in his residence. Toole’s sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2017 in Phelps County.

Phelps County

Rolla man pleads guilty in murder case

Corbin Kottman

Joshua Toole of Rolla pleaded guilty last week to a murder from 2015, where victim, Daniel Hunter, was killed in his home.

At approximately 9:10 p.m. on May 22, 2015, the Rolla Police Communication Center received a 911 call from a Rolla woman who reported that her current boyfriend, Joshua Toole, was en route to 3 Cronin Court to shoot her ex-husband, Daniel Hunter. According to Det. Sgt. Harper and Prosecuting Attorney Brendan Fox, it appeared that Hunter and the woman were cohabitating at the time.

According to the probable cause statement, officers located a gray Volkswagon Jetta upon arrival. The vehicle was parked in front of the residence. Toole stood inside the open front door of the residence, crouched over a body later identified as Daniel Hunter. A 40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun with a serial number of HFX9519 was found on a table adjacent to Hunter.

An officer briefly entered the residence to see if Hunter was in need of medical attention, the probable cause statement reported. Upon examination, the officer discovered no pulse and confirmed Hunter as deceased.

Toole was arrested and transported to the Rolla Police Department for questioning. Toole was advised of his Constitutional Rights (Miranda Warnings) prior to the questioning, according to the probable cause statement and Toole waived these rights.

The reporting officer said in the probable cause statement that Toole stated during the interview that he removed a 40 caliber handgun from his vest and pointed it at Hunter upon arrival at the residence.

The probable cause statement described a struggle between the two men and reported that Toole discharged the firearm. Hunter began to fall, and Toole told the reporting officer that he aimed the firearm at Hunter’s head and intentionally shot the other man in the head.

“Our understanding of why he killed Hunter was because he believed Hunter was abusing his girlfriend,” said Det. Sgt. Harper. According to him, this is based on their interview with Toole and evidence recovered from cell phones.

A change of venue placed Toole’s case in Franklin County, where Toole entered a plea of guilty to the amended charges of Murder in the Second Degree and Armed Criminal Action. The court accepted Toole’s plea as knowing and voluntary and found him guilty as charged. According to court documents, Toole’s plea was not based on a plea agreement with the prosecuting attorney.

“I think this is a pretty good result,” said Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney, Brendan Fox. “There were some mitigating factors on behalf of Mr. Toole. He’s a relatively young man and he served honorably in the military. He was suffering from some mental illness or defect, but not one that would have made him not guilty.” According to Fox, Toole tragically lost his child about a year before the incident.

Toole’s sentencing will take place on June 19, 2017 in Phelps County.

“Danny is missed daily,” said Diane Adamick, the victim’s mother. “He was always helping people. If anyone, friends or family, needed help he was always there. We’re glad he (Toole) was caught and will be put away.”

Hunter’s family will have the opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing about how his loss has affected their lives in a victim impact statement.