Texas man to stand trial in 2018 motel shooting

Morstain

A Texas man facing a capital murder charge in the May 2018 shooting death of Leonel Panduro will stand trial in November.

Andrew John Morstain, 24, of Fort Worth, Texas, faces a capital murder charge in Panduro’s May 8 shooting death. The 24-year-old was scheduled to stand trial in March. However, the trial was rescheduled Monday afternoon.

Panduro, of Whitewater Wisconsin, was shot and killed shortly before 6 a.m. May 8, 2018, in Room 106 of the Days Inn motel on Oak Street in Conway. The 48-year-old Wisconsin man had suffered multiple gunshot wounds when he died.

During a pretrial hearing held in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Monday, senior deputy prosecutor John Hout said the prosecutor’s office is “becoming aware of more details pertaining to the case.”

While he did not give specific details, Hout did say the new evidence “obviously has to do with illegal drugs and the delivery of illegal drugs.”

Christopher Owen Bynum, 22, of Texas, pleaded guilty last month to his involvement in Panduro’s death.

Bynum pleaded guilty to a first-degree murder charge and was ultimately sentenced to serve 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Two others – Zachery Keesee and his mother, Sherri Keesee – also face charges in the murder case. Zachery also faces a capital murder charge and is currently set to stand trial March 2-6. Sherri faces a hindering apprehension or prosecution charge and is set to stand trial Sept. 1-3.

The case stems from a May 8, 2018, incident where Conway officers were called around 6 a.m. regarding a shooting at the Days Inn motel. Authorities previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that it didn’t take long to figure out drug activity possibly played a role in Panduro’s death.

“A search of Panduro’s room turned up some drugs and money,” Conway Police Department spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said following the incident. “This led police to believe his death was drug related. Police also obtained video from the hotel that showed [and] identified men going to Panduro’s room and leaving just after the shots were fired. Detectives tracked down a Uhaul truck and a BMW seen in the video, which helped develop Zachery Keesee as a suspect in the case.”

At defense attorney Ron Davis Jr.’s request, Morstain’s trial will be held after the Keesee trials.

The Texas man is now set to stand trial before a Faulkner County jury Nov. 2-5 regarding his alleged involvement in Panduro’s shooting death.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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