Thursday, September 21, 2023

Joplin man bound over for trial for DWI in stolen vehicle, other felonies

A Joplin man who was charged with felony DWI, first degree tampering with a motor vehicle, robbery and resisting arrest by fleeing waived his preliminary hearing this morning in Jasper County Circuit Court and was bound over for trial.

According to the probable cause statement, Steven Ryan Martin, (DOB- 1983) was driving a vehicle reported stolen in Carthage:

When attempting to stop (Martin) in the vehicle, (he) began to flee from the area leading officers in a 5.4 mile pursuit through town. (Martin), while in pursuit, would drive excessive speed then he would slow down to under the speed limit. He was unable to maintain lanes by crossing the center dotted line numerous times, then would drive in the center median, then back to the solid fog line. 

(Martin) drove into opposite lanes of traffic in the Stones Corner Round-About. (He) continued to drive through intersections displaying a solid red light at excessive speed. 

Once the vehicle was disabled, (Martin exited the vehicle with commands and went to the ground and began doing pushups. Once (he)was in custody the odor of intoxicants was very strong on his breath.

When (he) was in the Webb City Police Department he was stumbling as he walked. While speaking with the male he was confused and his eyes were glassy, blood shot, and watery. After reading (Martin) implied consent, the male refused a breath sample. Two hours after the male was arrested the odor of intoxicants on his breath was still strong and had to use a chair to hold himself up during the fingerprinting process.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Carthage man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

A Carthage man pleaded guilty this morning in U. S. District Court in Springfield to receiving and distributing child pornography.

James Allen Beam, 35, committed the crimes between January 1, 2021 and April 20, 2023, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Attention was focused on Beam, the affidavit said, after a KIK discussion he had with a Fresno, California FBI undercover agent in which Beam said he had a sexual interest in children.

Beam also told the undercover agent he wanted to abduct and rape a child, according to the affidavit.

Columbus man receives four life sentences for rape, sodomy, taking indecent liberties with child

(From the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office)

John Edward Clark, 72, of Columbus, was given 4 life sentences Wednesday afternoon in Cherokee County District Court.

A jury found Clark guilty of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, aggravated criminal sodomy and two counts of rape at the conclusion of his trial on May 9th.

Clark's conviction and subsequent sentence came following an investigation into his unlawful sexual acts involving a child, between August of 2015 and May of 2017.

Clark continues to be held in the Cherokee County Jail pending transfer to the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Clark was prosecuted by the Cherokee County Attorney's Office.

Felony resisting arrest by fleeing charge filed against Carl Junction man following domestic dispute

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed felony resisting arrest by fleeing charges against a Carl Junction man who fled from police who were answering a domestic disturbance call at his home.

According to the probable cause statement, Corban Mitchell Radley, 45, verbally threatened his wife, who decided to leave the house for a while.

She got into her car, but the defendant followed her, telling her she could leave but not with the car. As he became more agitated, the victim locked the doors. The defendant lay down behind the car to prevent the victim from leaving, then got up when  he realized she was calling the police.

He went to her car door, yelling at her and attempting repeatedly to open the door. 

When Carl Junction police officers arrived, Radley jumped into his own car, according to the probable cause statement and took off, running a stop sign. Officers pursued him, but ended the pursuit when Radley began driving at speeds of close to 100 miles per hour on a county road with a 45 mile per hour speed limit.

They located Radley at County Road 290 and Kafir where he had crashed the vehicle, according to the statement. He suffered minor injuries.

Radley told the officers he never intended to assault his wife and he only fled because he didn't want to talk to them, according to the statement.

Carthage man sleeping on floor at Carterville Dollar General charged with possession of hydrocodone

A report of a man sleeping on the floor at the Carterville Dollar General resulted in an arrest for possession of a controlled substance September 19. Charges were filed this morning by the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office.

A $3,000 bond, cash or surety, has been set for Hunter Matthew Parman, 20, Carthage, who is being held in the Jasper County Jail.

From the probable cause statement from the Carterville Police Department:

On 9/19/2023 I was dispatched to Dollar General at 11 O S. Carter St. in Carterville, MO for a suspicious male sitting on the floor sleeping. Employees advised me they wanted the male removed. 

When the male was contacted, he appeared to be under the influence of opiates as he was lethargic and nodding off. His information was provided to dispatch and they advised he had a no bond felony warrant out of Cherokee Co. Kansas for probation violation with full U.S. extradition. The original charge was attempted vehicle burglary. 

After being placed under arrest for the warrant I searched his person. ln his right sock I located tin foil folded into a square with a chunk of white substance inside with burnt residue. After being read his rights, the suspect stated he believed the substance to be hydrocodone.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

U. S. Department of Education recognizes Webb City Truman Elementary as Blue Ribbon School


Joplin man who murdered kidnapping victim pleads guilty to conspiracy, weapons charges

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Joplin, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a kidnapping conspiracy that resulted in the death of the victim.

Freddie Lewis Tilton, also known as “Ol’ Boy,” 50, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

By pleading guilty today, Tilton admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to kidnap the victim, identified as “M.H.,” in July 2020. Co-defendants Carla Jo Ward, 49, of Joplin, James B. Gibson, 41, of Neosho, Mo., Amy Kay Thomas, 40, of Webb City, Mo., Lawrence William Vaughan, also known as “Scary Larry,” 52, of Newton County, Mo., and Russell Eugene Hurtt, also known as “Uncle,” 51, of Greenwood, Mo., have previously pleaded guilty.

According to the plea agreement, Ward picked up M.H., whom she knew was being sought by Tilton, and took him to Vaughan’s residence. Tilton, Thomas, and Gibson arrived at Vaughan’s residence in the early morning hours of July 15, 2020. They bound M.H.’s hands with handcuffs, and duct tape was placed around his mouth and other parts of his body. Gibson, Thomas, and others assaulted M.H. for a period of time. M.H. was cut, beaten, shot at, and burned with a blowtorch. As M.H. became bloody, Vaughan placed a plastic tarp on the floor. Tilton fatally shot M.H. in the head. They wrapped M.H.’s body in plastic wrap and transported it to Hurtt’s property.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hurtt’s property on July 28, 2020, based on information that a deceased body was located on the acreage. When officers attempted to contact the occupants of the residence, Tilton fired multiple shots from inside the residence at the officers. Tilton was apprehended.

Officers found M.H.’s body on the property. Officers searched the residence and found a Rigarmi .25-caliber pistol, an Ithaca .22-caliber rifle, a Remington .22-caliber rifle without a serial number, a Harrington and Richardson 12-gauge shotgun, a Ruger 9mm handgun, and a Taurus 9mm handgun without a serial number.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Tilton has two prior felony convictions for burglary, two prior felony convictions for larceny of an automobile, and prior felony convictions for stealing, possession of a controlled substance, burglary of an automobile, possession of a chemical with intent to manufacture, receiving stolen property, unlawful use of a weapon, theft, and tampering.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ami Harshad Miller and James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the FBI, the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Neosho, Mo., Police Department, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, and the Cherokee County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department.

Carl Junction man sentenced to 18 years on child pornography charges

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Carl Junction man was sentenced in federal court today for receiving and distributing child pornography over the internet.

Mark Comer, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 18 years in federal prison without parole. Comer will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and will be subject to federal and state sex offender registration requirements, which may apply throughout his life.

On March 23, 2023, Comer pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography.

Law enforcement officers searched Comer’s laptop in July 2022 as part of an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse. Investigators found thousands of photos and videos of child pornography and child exploitative material.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force, the FBI, and the Carl Junction, Mo., Police Department.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Sentencing set for Joplin meth trafficker who shot girlfriend in the stomach with a stolen gun

Sentencing for a Joplin meth trafficker who shot his girlfriend in the stomach with a stolen gun is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. October 17 in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

Travis K. Brown, 53, pleaded guilty to meth trafficking January 24 under an agreement with the U. S. Attorney's office. A weapons charge and a charge of distributing drugs near a school were dismissed. Brown's crimes were detailed in a detention motion filed in August 2022. 

Brown is a convicted felon who was found in possession of a firearm on one occasion and approximately 221 grams of actual methamphetamine on a separate occasion. A five-year-old child was inside Brown’s residence when the methamphetamine was seized.

Brown’s first arrest occurred on August 2, 2020, when Joplin, Missouri, Police Department officers were called to Brown’s residence because a woman had been shot.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Brown’s girlfriend L.S. sitting at the kitchen table with a gunshot wound to her abdomen. The firearm used to shoot Brown’s girlfriend was sitting on the kitchen table.

Brown’s girlfriend told police that Brown had just finished cleaning his gun when he accidentally shot her.

The officer checked the handgun through computer systems and learned that it was reported stolen from Webb City, Missouri.

Brown was sitting on the front porch when officers arrived. Brown gave officers consent to recover the firearm from the residence. Brown made spontaneous utterances to the officers that the gun was sitting on the kitchen table, that the gun was silver and a Smith and Wesson, and that the shooting was accidental.

Brown was interviewed the next day. Brown told officers that he had retrieved his gun “to mess with it.” Brown said the gun discharged and struck his girlfriend who was sitting on the other side of the kitchen table from him.

Brown said he did not know how the gun discharged. Brown refused to say how he obtained the stolen firearm.

Brown has prior felony convictions for possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, second degree arson, and receiving stolen property. Brown was on probation when officers arrested him on August 2, 2020.

While at the scene, officers called Brown’s probation officer. Brown’s probation officer told the officers that Brown is aware that he was prohibited from possession firearms due to him being a convicted felon.

Brown’s second arrest occurred on June 29, 2021, when Joplin, Missouri, Police Department officers executed a state search warrant at Brown’s residence. Inside the residence were three individuals: (1) Brown, (2) Brown’s girlfriend L.S., and (3) his girlfriend’s 5-year-old child.

Inside a safe, officers located bags of methamphetamine, a digital scale, Alprazolam and Hydrocodone pills, and two cell phones.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Crime Lab analyzed the bags of methamphetamine found in the safe and determined that one contained 195 grams of 100% pure methamphetamine and the other contained 27.11 grams of 99% pure methamphetamine.
In total, 221 grams of actual methamphetamine were recovered from the safe.

The next day, officers interviewed Brown after reading him his Miranda rights. Brown immediately said, “It’s mine.”

Brown stated that he had been selling for three or four months and had sold approximately one-half pound of methamphetamine during that time.

BTK killer's daughter says he took her fishing in Pineville area when she was a child

The daughter of Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer, believes her father murdered Shawna Beth Garber, whose body was found in McDonald County in 1990.

In the Sunday New York Times, Kerri Rawson, talks about her life with Rader and during a ride along with authorities in McDonald County recognized a place she had been with him.


One of those visits included Pineville, Mo. The law enforcement team came on a stream that Ms. Rawson recognized as a fishing hole she had visited with her father.

Ms. Garber’s body had been discovered just up the road.
Rawson is helping authorities try to close cases in which her father may have been the murderer, including the death of Shawna Beth Garber.