A Kansas City man is accused of stabbing a Gladstone man to death, setting his body on fire and stealing several of his possessions, including a guitar signed by the cast of “Seinfeld,” during an alleged weekend crime spree that linked him to two other shootings.
Noah Triston Cole, 23, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, arson and burglary, Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White announced in a statement Wednesday. Cole was arrested Tuesday and is currently being held in Clay County jail on a $1 million bond.
According to court records, Cole is connected to several violent crimes following an investigation that began with the discovery of a dead body in a Gladstone apartment on Saturday.
Firefighters were dispatched to the London Towers Apartment Complex at 2505 NE Shady Lane Dr. after a person called 911 to report their apartment was filling up with smoke. When firefighters went inside another apartment determined to be the source of the fire, they found a dead body of a man lying face down in the back bedroom.
Residents were evacuated from the building as firefighters brought the fire under control. Detectives were called to investigate the scene and found that the victim, identified in court documents as Matthew Stauch, 33, had suffered puncture wounds to his neck and back. His body was charred and appeared to have been set on fire, a detective wrote in court papers.
An autopsy revealed Stauch had died from stab wounds. He was stabbed approximately 40 times with a small blade, court records state.
During the investigation, detectives became aware of a shooting involving a woman that had occurred in a Raytown apartment around noon the same day. The victim in that shooting identified Cole as the person who shot her. A witness photographed the shooters leaving the scene in a car registered to Stauch.
In court documents, Gladstone police also referenced another fatal shooting in Kansas City where 9mm shell casings were found in the 8100 block of Independence Avenue. Police found a man dead in a vacant lot there on Monday. Cole was not charged in that killing as of Wednesday.
Investigators also tracked the car to a robbery that day in Kansas City at a smoke shop at 5908 Wilson Road. An employee told police one man, later identified by police as Cole, and another associate, who left his wallet in the store, had jumped over the counter and stolen the store’s shotgun.
Kansas City police found the suspect vehicle hours later in the 1500 block of Poplar Avenue. Inside the car they found the stolen shotgun, zip ties, duct tape, paperwork with Stauch’s name and a 9mm shell casing.
Police then interviewed a man accused of participating in the robbery alongside Cole. He allegedly told detectives that he went with Cole to the Gladstone apartment and helped him load up several bins with paperwork and property into Stauch’s car. At the scene, he saw a pool of blood on the floor in front of the door leading toward the back bedroom, court records state.
Officers arrested Cole around 4 p.m. Tuesday near his residence in the North Indian Mound neighborhood in the 6000 block of St. John Avenue. Police allegedly found a 9mm shell casing in his pocket and several others in the front yard. Those shell casings matched ones recovered from the Gladstone apartment, the Raytown shooting and the Kansas City homicide, court records state.
A search was conducted of Cole’s home following his arrest. Investigators discovered the signed “Seinfeld” guitar, printers, electronics, bloody clothing and several knives. They also found financial documents and prescription medication with Stauch’s name, court records state.
In an interview with police, Cole allegedly admitted to being at Stauch’s apartment to get property for someone and to purchase a small amount of marijuana. He denied any involvement in the homicides, according to court records.