JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — A man accused of murdering two people in Avilla, Mo. has pled guilty to the crimes.

Kevin Clay Johnson, 26, of Reeds, pled guilty to the murders of Mason McClure of Avilla and Nicole Hodges of Joplin. Both victims were 34 years old.

The judge sentenced Johnson to 28 years in prison on two counts of second-degree murder. The sentences will run concurrently and he gets credit for time served of just over two years. He must serve 85% of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole.

As part of the plea agreement, charges of armed criminal action were dismissed.

“During any trial there’s never a guaranteed outcome, there are issues that come up on appeal. We hope by entering in a plea agreement we can get the family certainty, closure, and hopefully peace of mind,” said Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Kenny.

Johnson was stoic Monday morning as he stood beside his attorney before Jasper County Judge David B. Mouton while Kenney read her opening statement to the court. She said on February 19, 2021, at 9:00 p.m. Johnson left his girlfriend, 25-year-old Keegan Miles (also known as Brylee O’Banion), with the victims at a residence in Avilla. The next day, she said around 8:40 a.m. Johnson entered the house and was seen leaving at 10:24 a.m.

Kenney continued with her statement saying at 9:00 a.m. Johnson’s father noticed a gun was missing and he called the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. She says three hours later Johnson’s father called again to say Johnson had returned with the gun and six bullets were missing. Johnson was later questioned by authorities.

Kenney says McClure and Hodges were shot multiple times and died from those gunshot wounds. Investigators sent the gun and the bullets from the crime scene to a Missouri Highway Patrol crime lab. The bullets missing from Johnson’s father’s gun matched the ones found at the scene.

Kenney continued, Johnson confessed to authorities after he was brought in for questioning. She says Johnson said he dropped Miles off with the victims at the Avilla residence. The next day, he was unable to get ahold of Miles and had a “bad feeling” so he went back to the residence and Miles was not there. Keegan says Johnson told authorities McClure and Hodges admitted to “taking out the trash” which Johnson understood to mean the two victims had murdered Miles.

Kenney continued with her statement saying Johnson said that he and the victims then smoked a bowl of methamphetamine, and shortly after he began to experience paranoia that they were going to kill him, too. When Johnson saw the victims hug, he took the opportunity to fire six rounds that passed through McClure’s body into Hodgens’, according to the statement. She then says that Johnson admitted to driving away, getting rid of his phone, burning his clothes, and selling his car.

After the statement was read, Judge Mouton asked Johnson if he agreed these statements were true. Johnson agreed and the court continued with guilty plea proceedings and sentencing.

Miles’ body was found on February 21, 2021, in a ditch in Newton County near State Line Road and Angus Drive. Miles’ cause of death had been suffocation, and her body was then burned. Newton County authorities said they were looking for McClure and Hodges as persons of interest in her death investigation.