By Kevin Kelley
A 27-year-old Bowling Green, Ohio, man was arraigned Thursday morning in Ottawa County Municipal Court in Port Clinton on a murder charge for the death of Westlake native Phil Masterson.
Zachary J. Brody was also charged with voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault. His bond was set at $750,000.
Brody was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when he returned to his home in Bowling Green.
The body of Masterson, 25, was found Tuesday afternoon by his brother in a wooded area at Put-in-Bay. According to a press release by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, the body was clothed in a pair of green shorts and covered with a brown canvas. Masterson appeared to have been beaten, authorities said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office.
Masterson’s mother, Georgeanne Masterson, called Put-in-Bay police around 6 p.m. Monday, saying her son had been missing since midnight. He was at the islands with a group of friends, she said.
Masterson was a rising star in the ranks of amateur Ohio mixed martial arts fighters, according to the Gateway MMA website. His older brother, Matt, is a pro fighter, the website said.
A 2004 graduate of St. Ignatius High School, Masterson was on the wrestling team in high school.
Authorities say they are still trying to determine a motive in the slaying and the extent of any connection between Masterson and Brody.
As first reported by the Sandusky Register, Brody’s Facebook page lists Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a form of fighting similar to mixed martial arts, as an activity and interest.
The Register also quotes Ottawa County Sherffit Robert Bratton as saying Masterson and Brody both attended a weekend party where some sort of argument between the two led to pushing and shoving.
Bowling Green Municipal Court records indicate Brody was cited in October 2004 for persistent disorderly conduct, the Register reported.