Ex-convict charged in Northland murder of AT&T technician

Clay County authorities on Sunday charged a Kansas City ex-convict with first-degree murder in the death of an AT&T technician who was fatally beaten on the job.

Bryan J. Middlemas, 35, was also charged with attempted robbery and armed criminal action in Kevin M. Mashburn’s death.

Mashburn, 58, was clubbed in the head with a crowbar while he was making tower repairs in a Gladstone neighborhood about 3 a.m. Wednesday.

In text messages to his dispatcher after he was hit, Mashburn said, “I need you to call me an ambulance I have been attacked,” according to a probable cause statement from Gladstone police.

While police and paramedics rushed to the scene, the dispatcher texted, “You hurt bad?”

Mashburn wrote, “Yes head split open.”

Paramedics found Mashburn unconscious inside his truck in the 2700 block of Northeast 57th Terrace.

He was rushed to the hospital but died from his injuries.

On Saturday, according to court documents, a former cellmate of Middlemas called police to say that Middlemas had told him he had attacked Mashburn.

According to the man’s statement, Middlemas told him he clubbed Mashburn with the crowbar when he would not give up his wallet, then fled and dumped the crowbar in a nearby pond.

Authorities said phone records showed that Middlemas had called his former cellmate and records also showed that Middlemas had been in the vicinity of the crime scene early Wednesday morning.

Kansas City police arrested Middlemas on Saturday evening. During a search of Middlemas’ truck, investigators found a set of tools with a crowbar missing and they also noted a significant amount of blood on the interior on the rear driver’s side door.

Bond for Middlemas was set at $1 million.

Mashburn and his wife, Barbara, had four children and a 10-month-old granddaughter.

AT&T had offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the murder of Mashburn.

Mashburn’s union, the Communications Workers of America Local 6360, established a fund to help his family. Donations can be sent to the Kevin Mashburn Memorial Fund, 6415 Universal Ave., Kansas City, MO 64120.