MT. VERNON, Mo. — A judge has found sufficient evidence for a southwest Missouri man to stand trial in the death of a man whose beaten body was found in the back of a van in a park.

The Joplin Globe reports that Michael Jones was bound over for trial Monday on charges of first-degree murder and abandonment of corpse. Jones initially was charged with second-degree murder in the September 2016 death of his roommate, 49-year-old Timothy Goodman. But the charge was upgraded after Jones declined to enter a guilty plea.

During the preliminary hearing, a Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant testified that Jones admitted driving Goodman to the park but claimed Goodman asked to be driven there after being beaten on a walk. Investigators believe Goodman was killed in the men’s shared residence.

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