Fort Leonard Wood soldier part of murder investigation hours after wedding

LACLEDE COUNTY, Missouri – Court documents reveal what led to the death of a 23-year-old Lebanon man and how two soldiers were involved at Fort Leonard Wood.

Lebanon police officers found Ethan Williams lying on the floor outside his home on the 400 block on North Monroe Street on Friday, December 3. After life-saving attempts, Williams died of a fatal gunshot wound.

Court documents obtained from OzarksFirst detail what led to his death.

One of the three men arrested in the case, Blake R. Paulson, had just married around 6 p.m. Friday, according to a likely explanation for the cause. Sometime after the wedding, Paulson and Zackary R. Gillis received a call from Williams asking for help robbing a few houses.

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Paulson told his Army CID Special Agent what happened. He said Williams’ brother knew people who had things to sell for Paulson, Gillis, and Williams. Court documents say Gillis and Williams planned to rob the supplier’s house before going to the house where Williams was later shot.

At the first home, the three of them kicked the door to a trailer and no one was home. Paulson admitted stealing an Xbox game console from the first house. Then they moved into the next house. The three of them went inside, armed with a .45, AR15 and a Draco pistol. Paulson told investigators that Williams and Gillis took marijuana and money that belonged to the person in the house. This person was identified as a 16-year-old male by the Lebanese police. He is being held at the Camden County Juvenile Justice Center on separate charges unrelated to the incident.

Court documents say that when the three were leaving the house, the 16-year-old shot them and shot Williams with a pistol. After the three escaped, they drove to the 400 block of N. Monroe, where Williams’ wife lived. Lebanon police officers spoke to a man who had taped a video of what was coming next.

The video shows a white car pulling into a driveway and Gillis and Paulson getting out and pulling Williams out of the trunk of the car, laying him on the floor, and walking. Paulson and Gillis split up so Paulson could hide the gun and a duffel bag used in the crimes in his girlfriend’s car in Rolla. Paulson then met Gillis in Crocker to face her sergeant.

Investigators later found Paulson’s friend’s car in Rolla with guns and cable ties.

Gillis and Paulson are both on remand for second degree murder and first degree burglary. Both are currently being detained in Laclede County Jail, without being bonded. You will appear in court on December 13th at 1:30 p.m.


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