An argument between brothers, both of whom had been drinking, escalated into the murder of 35-year-old Billie Joe Moon, according to the criminal complaints filed against two Brainerd men Tuesday.
The murder suspects, James Warren Moon Jr., 34, and Michael Gary Long, 37, were arraigned Tuesday in Crow Wing County District Court.
James Moon, Billie Moon's brother, was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for the death of Billie Moon, Brainerd.
Long, who lived with James Moon in northeast Brainerd, was charged with second-degree aiding murder for fabricating information about Billie Moon's murder and for trying to mislead investigators.
Billie Moon's body was found Thursday by a motorist in a wooded area about 12 miles north of Mora in Kanabec County. He had been shot, point blank, in the left temple. James Moon confessed Sunday to the murder, Crow Wing County sheriff's investigators reported in the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
James Moon and Long, both arrested Sunday at the Law Enforcement Center. Several family members attended the arraignment. A few broke into tears during the arraignment.
Both men appeared distraught during the court proceedings. James Moon often rocked back and forth or side to side while Casey read his rights. He also gave several glances back to family members and friends who were in court. Long was solemn and still, giving his attention to Casey.
Casey set unconditional bond or bail at $250,000 James Moon and at $125,000, for Long.
Billie Moon was last seen Feb. 16 in downtown Brainerd. In the missing person report filed Feb. 28 with the Steele County Sheriff's Department in Owatonna, Billie Moon's mother, Ardith Guerrero, reported Billie Moon was last seen in Brainerd with his brother, James Moon, at the Blue Ox.
On the missing person report, Guerrero wrote Billie Moon had drug and alcohol problems. In a telephone interview Tuesday, a shaken Guerrero said she had heard of the arraignment but had no other comment on either Billie Moon's murder or the arrest of James Moon.
In the criminal complaint, Crow Wing County Sheriff's investigators said Billie and James Moon had a telephone conversation Feb. 16 in which Billie Moon was extremely agitated and threatening toward James Moon.
The complaint further stated the two brothers decided to meet at the Blue Ox bar. Before going to the bar, Billie Moon had about 15-16 cans of beer, the complaint said. Billie and James Moon met at the Blue Ox.
The brothers left in James Moon's vehicle to a location on County Road 144. At some point, the criminal complaint said, James Moon went to his vehicle, got a gun and shot Billie Moon in the head.
James Moon left the body and went back to his residence to get Long, the complaint said. James Moon and Long returned, loaded Billie Moon's body into the trunk of James Moon's car and drove to Kanabec County, where they dumped the body.
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