Saturday, June 29, 2019

The way the Turner Report handled posts on the Johnny Russow trial and this week's top 10 posts

When a jury found former Diamond R-4 Board of Education member Johnny Russow not guilty following a two-day trial on statutory sodomy charges, a few people on Facebook began bombarding me with the information and wanting to know why I wouldn't print the news of his acquittal when I had been so quick to post the testimony of his accuser during the first day of the trial.

I did not notice the comments for several hours. Some of the time I was not online and when I did open the laptop, I followed my normal Friday afternoon and evening routine of going through the Highway Patrol reports, federal court dockets, posting the bankruptcy petitions, marriage licenses and dissolutions of marriage.

After going through some e-mails, including obituary announcements from local funeral homes, Billy Long's column, news releases and various newsletters I receive from different newspapers, television stations and news and sports websites, I happened to notice the Facebook messages, tracked down the information and posted the story on Russow's acquittal.

By this time, there were a few of the expected type of comments that always go to anyone who reports on the news.

"All the media is interested in is sales" and "they don't care who they hurt," and I even received one e-mail from someone who appears to have created the address just to rip into me going into the old nonsense about me not caring about anyone and hurting so many people because I write about these things that are not anyone's business.

Let me address a few of those points:

First, the nonsense about me being so quick to post something about the accusations, but not about the acquittal.

I did not write about the first day of testimony until Friday morning, probably about 17 hours after the court adjourned on Thursday. I posted the news of the acquittal about four or five hours after the jury handed down its verdict.

After I posted the acquittal article, I reopened the article about the first day's testimony and added in bold lettering at the top of the post that the jury found Johnny Russow not guilty.

That is something I do anytime a trial is held and the jury acquits the defendant.

As for the tired claim that all the media is interested in is sales and building readership- check out this week's Top 10 Turner Report. While it is true that the post on the accuser's testimony received more visitors, it was by a small amount and some of those have viewed the post since I added the bold-lettered message on the verdict.

The acquittal post is ranked just behind the first post and will pass it in total visitors sometime tonight.

As for the sales, I am not raking in the cash with these blogs by posting one sensational crime/scandal story after another.

I do offer a considerable amount of coverage each day on crime and courts news, but I spend just as much time on basic government posts, including agendas of meetings and while those have a loyal readership and I plan to continue posting them, they are not the stuff of scandal.

Probably more of my time is spent on posting the obituaries.

Between my Inside Joplin Obituaries and Inside Pittsburg Obituaries, more than 10,000 life stories have been published. I do not charge a cent for posting obituaries. i receive a small amount from the advertising on the page and I am sure that some of you who have made contributions or took subscriptions or paying at least some of your money for the obituary service.

It probably is not necessary to address the claim that the crime stories are no one's business.

Our tax money pays for the trials, law enforcement, the prisons, the probation and parole officers and every other facet of our legal system. Is is the public's business, not just from the aspect of how the money is spent, but it is also important to have a knowledge of where crimes are taking place and who is committing them.

I am sure that some of those who complain the most vociferously are simply not fans of my writing style. While I am sorry it does not meet with their approval, after 42 years it is highly unlikely I am going to change the way I write.

This week's top 10 posts for the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries are posted below.

Thanks for supporting the Turner Report and helping this news operation to continue providing news and commentary for the Joplin area. Those who do not wish to use the PayPal buttons may send their contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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The Turner Report

1. Sports Illustrated report offers devastating description of MSSU football coach's role in death of Garden City Community College player

2. Carthage man crashes into bridge, tells police he's "too drunk" to take field sobriety tests

3. Judge to embezzling Jasper R-5 Board secretary: Sorry, Karla, you're staying in prison

4. Trial testimony: Former Diamond School Board member molested underage girl, had affair with her mother

5. Newton County jury finds former Diamond School Board member not guilty of statutory sodomy

6. Jalen Vaden to Jayda Kyle's father: I pray that you know I didn't do this to her

7. Carthage man who broke five-year-old daughter's leg sentenced to seven years in prison

8. Winners and losers from the Democratic presidential candidate debates

9. First degree murder trial of accused road rage killer set to begin July 8

10. U. S. Marshals warn of scammers spoofing official numbers to trick people into sending money

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin woman killed after bicycle struck by car on 7th Street at Wal-Mart Drive

2. Webb City man arrested on felony charges after Joplin SWAT operation at 2429 E. Salem

3. Joplin man injured in motorcycle-car crash at 22nd and Maiden Lane dies at local hospital

4. Joplin Police: Do you know this Range Line hit-and-run suspect?

5. Barton County Sheriff investigating reports of men in trucks trying to lure children by using puppies, ice cream truck melodies

6. Joplin Police: Do you know these guys?

7. Joplin Police Department Arrests June 27-28

8. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

9. Joplin Police Department Arrests June 25-26

10. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Chris Body

2. Seth Dallies

3. Chuck Smith

4. Gary Morrison

5. Susie Griffitt

6. Steve Houk

7. Randy Layne

8. Dorothy Grotjohn

9. Samantha Harr

10. Gene Shirk

Friday, June 28, 2019

Newton County jury finds former Diamond School Board member not guilty of statutory sodomy

A Newton County jury deliberated for one hour today before finding former Diamond R-4 Board of Education member Johnny Russow not guilty on two counts of statutory sodomy.

The verdict came at the conclusion of a two-day trial.

During the first day, the woman, 20 now but 15 at the time and a friend of Russow's daughter, testified Russow molested her and that she discovered Russow was also having an affair with her mother.

Russow's attorney, Jonathan Pierce, said the woman was lying and members of Russow's family testified things did not take place as the woman said they did.

Billy Long: President Trump has offered "measured" response to Iran

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Iran has shown time and time again it has no interest in working with the U.S. The last few weeks offer further proof of that fact. On June 19, Iran shot down a $100 million Air Force surveillance drone that was operating in international airspace. This followed just one week after Iran attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Although the Iranian government has denied these accusations, the U.S. has provided sufficient evidence proving otherwise, which both the UK and Germany have supported.

This isn’t the first time the Iranian government has attacked assets of the U.S. and its allies. In May, the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East due to “troubling and escalatory” behavior related to Iran. Soon after, four oil tankers were attacked in the Persian Gulf. Who was responsible? Iran. U.S. allies owned all four oil tankers.

A few days after the attacks, Iran announced that it would immediately accelerate its uranium production. This week Iran made good on that promise. These statements come after years of denying it has any intention of obtaining a nuclear weapon. Clearly, however, Iran has every intention of doing so.

President Trump responded by imposing sanctions on top officials within the Iranian government. This is in addition to a staggering level of sanctions already imposed on Iran, which have cut Iran’s oil exports by nearly 90 percent in the last year and denied the Iranian government 40 percent of its annual revenue. This has forced Iran to cut military spending by nearly a third, according to the State Department.

Although we do not seek war or conflict with Iran, if provoked or attacked, we will respond accordingly. As long as Iran continues its hostile behavior, the President will maintain his “maximum pressure” sanctions policy to curtail Iran’s behavior. President Trump’s measured response has given Iran a number of opportunities to correct its wrongs. Like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have said, the U.S. is leaving an open door for Iran to walk through when they are ready to talk.

Trial testimony: Former Diamond School Board member molested underage girl, had affair with her mother

(UPDATE: A jury found Johnny Russow not guilty following the second day of the trial.)

Witnesses in the first day of testimony in the statutory sodomy trial of former Diamond R-4 Board of Education member Johnny Russow claimed Russow was having a lengthy affair with a local woman during the same time period he was molesting the woman's underage daughter.

Russow made sexual advances on the alleged victim, who was a friend of Russow's teenage daughter, even during times when the daughter was also there, according to Joplin Globe reporter Jeff Lehr's account in today's edition. One of those occasions was during a camping trip:

(The alleged victim) had retired for the night with her sister and Russow's daughter when Russow entered their tent, ostensibly with the intention of "givin' lovins" to his daughter. But while he was kissing and hugging his daughter, one of his hands was reaching behind him and rubbing her crotch, she told the jury.
According ot her testimony, the girl, who was 15 and 16 during the times of the alleged crimes and is 20 now, later discovered her mother was having an affair with Russow and came forward because of her disgust with him.

The mother testified she had an affair with Russow that lasted three years, but broke it off after hearing her daughter's accusations.

In his opening statement, Russow's attorney, Jonathan Pierce said the alleged victim was infatuated with Russow and when she found out he was having an affair with her mother, leveled her accusations against him.

The trial is expected to conclude today.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Judge to embezzling Jasper R-5 Board secretary- Sorry, Karla, you're staying in prison

In a decision issued today, U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool denied former Jasper R-5 Board of Education secretary Karla Justice's effort to have her sentence tossed.

Justice, formerly Karla Jessee, is currently nine months into a 30-month sentence, claimed her lawyer, Elizabeth Turner, was ineffective in not getting her sentence further reduced. Harwell disagreed.

Turner had, in fact, successfully argued to prevent Justice from receiving a longer sentenced, since Justice's crime had a maximum sentence of 35 years.

In her sentencing memorandum, Turner noted that the methods used by Justice to steal the money should earn her a lighter sentence since sentencing guidelines call for more time for a "sophisticated" scheme.

"She wrote checks from the school accounts to family members, which would appear on bank statements and deposited checks and monthly on bank statements to the school district. If Ms. Justice was attempting to conduct a sophisticated scheme, it could be assumed she would have attempted to conceal her wrongdoing. This would also apply to the credit car transactions Ms. Justice was charging on behalf of the school district for her personal gain."

The fact that Justice's self dealings made her the highest paid employee in the district was also a dead giveaway, Turner noted.

The memorandum also included Justice's statement about how sorry she was for what she did to the school district.
Words cannot express the remorse I feel for the crimes I committed. At the time, I was in a very dark place and felt backed into a corner. I have struggled financially my entire life and being the oldest of 10 children has always made me feel as though it was my responsibility to help out each member of my family.
Justice acknowledged she stole the money and described the thievery as "shameful."
In addition to Turner's legal arguments and Justice's statement, the memorandum featured letters from her former husband, members of her church, friends and a social worker asking for leniency.

During the sentencing hearing, impact statements were given by R-5 Superintendent/High School Principal Christina Hess, former Superintendent Kathy Fall, Elementary Principal David Davis and third grade teacher Tami Maneval, who detailed the impact Justice's thievery had on the district, forcing it to drop programs and drastically cut costs.

U. S. Marshals warn of scammers spoofing official numbers to trick people into sending money

(From the U. S. Marshals Office)

The U.S. Marshals in the Western District of Missouri are alerting the public of an imposter phone scam where con artists are spoofing official phone numbers to trick people into sending money.

The tactic, known as spoofing, involves scammers using technology to modify what number appears on the victim’s caller ID. Recently, many of these frauds involved the use of U.S. Marshals official phone numbers. “These are not victimless crimes, and many people have lost thousands of dollars to these con artists”, said U.S. Marshal Mark James. “The public should know that the U.S. Marshals will never ask for personal information such as a credit/debit or gift card number, or a bank routing number.”

The U.S. Marshals are urging people to report these calls to their local FBI office,, and to file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected, and share that data with law enforcement.

During many of these calls, scammers attempt to collect a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report for jury duty or other offenses. They then tell victims they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card, and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine.

Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses.

If you believe you were a victim of such fraud, you are encouraged to report the incident to your local FBI office and to the FTC.

Things to remember:

· U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose. · Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

· Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office and to the FTC. · You can remain anonymous when you report. · If scammer provides a court order, authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.

Winners and losers from the Democratic presidential candidate debates

Some winners and losers from the Democratic debates

From tonight's debate

Winners- Kamala Harris, Michael Bennett-  Harris the big winner, but Bennett showed he had enough substance and while Harris' attack on Biden was more noted, Bennett also did a takedown on on the former vice president.

Not Making Much of an Impact, but not Hurting Himself- Pete Buttigieg

Treading on Water, but No Danger of Being Hurt Too Badly- Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders- I know Sanders fans will not like this, but his day has come and gone. Elizabeth Warren does it better.

Chirping Like a Couple of Irritating Birds- Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell. Swalwell's changing the guard got old quickly. Everything Gillibrand did got old quickly.

What Are They Doing Here?- Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson

What am I doing here with Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson?- John Hickenlooper

Last night's debate

Winners- Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Warren benefited from not having Sanders on the stage with her, but I have a feeling she would have come out on top anyway. I have always been impressed with Castro since his speech at the Democratic Convention a few years ago, so his performance came as no surprise.

Not Quite a Winner, but Having His Moments- Cory Booker. He has his moments, but his earnestness, while I am sure it is quite sincere, occasionally fell short

Not Making Much of an Impact, But Not Hurting Herself- Amy Klobuchar

Not Going Anywhere, But Could Make Us Suffer for Quite A While- Bill DeBlasio

Not Ready for Primetime- Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney

What Is He Doing Here? Beto O'Rourke- the most overrated politician in recent memory

I Thought Being a Governor Would Help- Jay Inslee

What did you think?

State auditor: State revenues in compliance with Hancock Amendment

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a report detailing the office's annual review of state compliance with the state constitutional limits on taxing and expenditures, commonly known as the Hancock Amendment.

The 1980 amendment to the Missouri Constitution restricts the amount by which fees and taxes can be increased and also limits the amount of personal income used to fund state government.

The Hancock Amendment limits the amount of Missourians' income that may be used to fund state government to no greater than the portion used to do so in 1981, except as authorized by a vote of the people. 

For the 2018 fiscal year, total state revenue was approximately $3.9 billion under the refund threshold. As a result, the state was found to be in compliance. Missouri has not exceeded the limit since 1999.

The Hancock Amendment also limits the amount the General Assembly may raise taxes or fees through new legislation without a vote of the people. Taxes or fees were projected to decrease by at least $41.3 million.

A complete copy of the office's review of state compliance with the Hancock amendment can be found here.

Parson signs order to close state offices July 5

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that he plans to sign an executive order declaring state offices closed on Friday, July 5, 2019.

“The Fourth of July reminds us of the freedoms we cherish as Americans and the brave men and women who have fought to preserve this great country.

"Missouri is known as a state that honors our veterans. May we never forget their selfless sacrifice on behalf of freedom. I have witnessed it through my time in the military, law enforcement, and as an elected official," Governor Parson said. 

"Thank you to our state team members for everything you do for Missouri, and may God continue to bless you all. From my family to yours, we wish you a peaceful and joyous Independence Day weekend."

Governor Parson plans to sign the executive order July 3, the day he returns from his effective absence from the state.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Missouri flags to fly at half-staff July 1 in honor of slain police officer

(From the office of Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, acting on behalf of Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe ordered the U.S. and Missouri flags be flown at half-staff at government buildings across the state on Monday, July 1, to honor North County Police Cooperative Officer Michael Langsdorf.

On June 23, Officer Langsdorf was shot and killed after responding to a complaint at a Wellston business.

“For 17 years, Michael Langsdorf patrolled the streets of the St. Louis area, confronting violence and taking risks so others could be safer and the community could be stronger,” Lt. Governor Kehoe said. “Since his tragic, senseless killing, we’ve learned about the impact one individual officer can have over a career – from helping save a toddler from a burning building to mentoring and guiding younger officers. We are all indebted to Michael Langsdorf, and we will always remember the difference he made for the St. Louis region.”

Before joining the North County Police Cooperative this year, Officer Langsdorf had served with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The flags will be held at half-staff on the day Officer Langsdorf is laid to rest.

To review the proclamation, click the following link:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Carthage man who broke five-year-old daughter's leg sentenced to seven years in prison

A Carthage man who broke his five-year-old daughter's leg when she failed to clean her room was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday during a plea hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Under a plea agreement, Lance Breeding, 27, pleaded guiltry to one count of felony child abuse.

A Carthage Police Department news release said Breeding's five-year-old daughter had to have surgery on a broken leg and that her abuse also included severe bruising on her back, buttocks and legs.

Breeding told officers he spanked the girl for disobeying him, then pushed her into a room causing her to hit her dresser when she failed to clean her room.

When she sat on the floor, he kicked her and told her to get up, according to the news release.

Schmitt, other state attorneys general announce partnership to crack down on robocalls

(From Attorney General Eric Schmitt)

Attorney General Schmitt, along with a multitude of state Attorneys General, and local, state, and federal agencies, announced a partnership to crack down on illegal robocalls.

Among all participants in the joint crackdown, called “Operation Call it Quits,” 94 actions have been taken targeting operations around the country responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services, including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities, and medical alert systems.

“Operation Call it Quits” is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to help stem the tide of universally loathed pre-recorded telemarketing calls. It also includes new information to help educate consumers about illegal robocalls. In addition, the FTC continues to promote the development of technology-based solutions to block robocalls and combat caller ID spoofing.

On March 5, 2019, Attorney General General Schmitt filed a lawsuit against four Florida-based businesses for violations of Missouri’s No-Call List. The lawsuit alleges that Health Advisors of America, Duff Insurance Brokerage, America’s Best Insurance Group, and Michael T. Smith Insurance violated Missouri law by making robocalls offering health insurance to Missouri residents who were on the Missouri No-Call List. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office received 262 complaints statewide about the Defendants’ practices.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office will promote educational materials provided by the FTC in the coming days and weeks, and urges Missouri consumers to report illegal robocalls to the Missouri No-Call List by calling 866-BUZZOFF (866-289-9633) or filing a complaint online at:

“Robocalls aren’t just annoying and incessant, they can often lead to Missouri residents falling victims to scams or fraud,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “I’m glad that one of the top priorities of the Federal Trade Commission is combating illegal robocalls in Missouri and across the country, and I look forward to continuing to work with our federal partners to educate consumers about robocalls, come up with new solutions to combat these robocalls, and hold those responsible for illegal robocalls accountable.”

“We’re all fed up with the tens of billions of illegal robocalls we get every year,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Today’s joint effort shows that combatting this scourge remains a top priority for law enforcement agencies around the nation.”

In addition to the lawsuit filed against the Florida-based companies by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, 25 federal, state, and local agencies have brought 87 enforcement actions as part of the initiative. State partners announcing enforcement today include the Attorneys General Offices for Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia; the Consumer Protection Divisions of the District Attorneys for the Counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Santa Clara, California; the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and the Los Angeles City Attorney. In addition, the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern District of Georgia, Middle District of Florida, and Southern District of Texas, with support from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, have contributed five criminal actions.

The FTC today announced enforcement actions related to illegal robocalls against First Choice Horizon LLC., 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle, Derek Jason Bartoli, and Media Mix 365. They also announced the settlement of previous cases against Lifewatch Inc., Redwood Scientific, and Life Management Services. Descriptions of those cases can be found here.

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education live at 7 p.m.

First degree murder trial of accused road rage killer set to begin July 8

The first degree murder trial of Chris Montz, 25, Neosho, is scheduled to begin July 8 in Jasper County Circuit Court with Judge Dean Dankelson presiding.

Four days have been set aside for the trial.

Montz is charged with the June 9, 2018 road rage killing of David Reynolds, 27, Carthage on Highway 249 near the intersection with I-44.

The probable cause statement detailed the confrontation between Montz and Reynolds, indicating the two men pulled to the shoulder and while the men were arguing, Reynolds punched Montz twice in the face. Montz pulled a gun and shot Reynolds in the head.

Montz was bound over for trial following an August 2 preliminary hearing.

A motions hearing will be held 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Agenda posted for tonight's Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet 7 p.m. today in the Memorial Education Building.

A closed session to discuss personnel is scheduled for 6 p.m.

A. Call to Order
1. Roll Call

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda 

D. Reports

1. Board President's Report
a. Recognition of 2019 National History Day Competition Winners
1. Aubrey Chrisenbery - 3rd Place Individual Performance - A Blessing or a Curse? The Triumph and Tragedy of Thalidomide
2. Josef Schuller - 3rd Place Individual Documentary - The Bridge Over Funchilin Pass: The Only Option for Retreat
b. Celebrations - Info (Sharrock Dermott)

2. Superintendent's Data Report
a. Health & Dental Plan Update - Info. (Dr. Lankford)
b. Financial Statements - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

E. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Action Items

F. Constent Agenda - Action

1. Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)
2. Consent Contract - Action (Dr. Moss)
a. CDGG Amendment to Agreement
b. SMS Yearbook Purchase Agreement
3. Paper Products Supplier for Joplin Schools - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
4. Declaration of Surplus Property - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
5. Renewal of Insurance Coverages - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
6. Annual 50% Payment to City of Joplin for School Resource Officers (SRO) - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
7. Weidenhammer Financial Software (Alio) Extension - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
8. Frontline Absence and Sub Management Software (AESOP) Extension - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
9. TimeClock Plus Software Extension - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
10. Student Service Salary Schedule Correction for the 2019-20 School Year - Action (Sarah Mwangi)
11. Salary Adjustments for the 2019-2020 School Year - Action (Sarah Mwangi)
12. High School Summer Cheer Camp - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
13. Policy for Second Reading Approval - Action (Dr. Moss)
a. Policy GDBDA: Support Staff Leaves - Action (Dr. Moss) 

G. Regular Agenda

1. Long-Term Facility Committee Recommendation to the BOE - Info. (Committee Representatives)
2. Strategic Plan Updates for 2019/20 - Action (Dr. Moss)
3. Accounts Payable - Action (Dr. Lankford)
4. Budget Adjustments - Action (Dr. Lankford)
5. Preliminary Budget for the 2019-2020 School Year - Action (Dr. Lankford)
6. Purchase a New Digital Radio System for the District - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
7. Freezers and Coolers - Action (Dr. Sachetta)
8. Appoint Board Treasurer - Action (Dr. Moss)
9. Appoint Board Secretary - Action (Dr. Moss) 

H. Plus/Deltas - Info. (Dr. Moss)

I. Adjourn 

Paul Richardson: A Father's Day weekend I'll never forget

(Paul Richardson's column, The Horse I Rode On In, runs weekly in the Neosho Daily News, Seneca News-Dispatch and on the Turner Report.)

Apparently, I missed another opportunity. It is always after-the-fact when I realize that another calendar event has passed me by, and I did not use the event as a subject for an article.

When I sit in solitude contemplating subject matter for writing opportunities, I always think that upcoming events can be fodder for the mill. I can get out my best greeting card lines and other quaint euphemisms and prepare something just for the special day. Then before I realize what has happened, I have sat and written articles about other random thoughts and the day has passed and the opportunity has once again escaped me.

Well, so much for Father’s Day 2019! This also goes for Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Groundhog Day, April Fool’s Day and the ever favorite first day of Spring. 

Not only did I forget to pen some of my best lines for Father’s Day, I failed to remember our plans for the weekend and poor planning forced us to make many last-minute changes. I had committed weeks ago to be present and assist in the dedication of the Veterans Memorial on Saturday, June 15. 

Then, without looking at a calendar or considering the possibility of double booking, the good wife and I planned to leave early on Saturday morning to travel to Salem, Missouri to see her dad for Father’s Day. 

It was during the period of a week prior to the day of conflict when I realized that I had committed on two separate fronts. Modifications were quickly made, and we simply made our departure about six hours later than scheduled. It all worked out, we were present for the dedication and were able to connect with all the family as planned.

Although none of our readers were invited to accompany us on the trip to Salem, everyone was invited to attend the Memorial Dedication. 

As it is with all outdoor events, the risk of disruption due to inclement weather seemed especially probable on this specific Saturday morning. Radar indicated that the rain mass stretched all the way west to Bartlesville and appeared to increase in intensity along that line. Conditions remained cloudy; thankfully the precipitation dissipated. The south wind remained strong adding an element that can prove to be quite exciting as the 30’x60’ flag becomes a great sail. 

Not a single member of the honor guard wants to turn loose of the flag too soon and thus desecrate the flag by allowing it to touch the ground; but hang on too long and man of average size could find themselves airborne. 

The original plans for the honor guard were modified and additional poundage was added along with several members from all the local law enforcement agencies represented. The flag went up, the honor guard stayed down, and it was a beautiful site.

The entire dedication was accomplished in a great fashion and the Memorial is officially dedicated in honor of the Neosho community. 

Recognition needs to be given to the Neosho Exchange Club, with special notice to Dave Padgett and Kevin Wilson. Dave for his dedication to the fund-raising efforts and Kevin for his planning and execution of the Dedication Ceremony. Getting the ceremony completed is an honorable task, getting it completed on a day under such extreme circumstances deserves extra credit. Many of the roadblocks in the fundraising efforts remained behind the scenes, but the hurdles that presented themselves on the day of dedication had all of us drawn up like a Bull Durham sack.

After it was all said and done, the speaking and political guests that were invited from afar and those in their dress uniforms and others providing special features of the day, such as the gun salute, the special painted CFI truck and trailer, delivered a very meaningful presentation for the unveiling of the Memorial. If you couldn’t attend, it’s alright. 

The Memorial is there everyday and intended for use. There are areas where one can sit and reflect. The path is paved and fairly level, providing easy access to the area around the flagpole and to the monuments. 

The flags, yes flags, as flags for each of the armed services and one for POW/MIA has been added to the Memorial, are provided special lighting at night. It is my intent to make a visit to the Memorial during the nighttime hours just to experience the special ambience provided by the lighting.

I may have missed Father’s Day as a subject matter, but the Father’s Day weekend turned out to be one that I will not forget. I just need to remember to check the calendar and plan accordingly.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sports Illustrated report offers devastating description of MSSU football coach's role in death of Garden City Community College player

A Sports Illustrated article posted today offers a devastating look at the actions of Missouri Southern State University Football Coach Jeff Sims on the day a freshman player at his former school died following a grueling workout.

Titled "Collapse and Confusion: The Death of a Juco Football Player," the article paints a portrait of a stern taskmaster coach who was putting his players through a series of sprints, but not allowing them to take water breaks. Officials at Garden City Community College have disputed previous similar accusations, but as the article notes, have authorized an independent investigation into the death of 6-4, 300 pound defensive lineman Braeden Bradforth.

Head coach Jeff Sims initially told the media that Bradforth had likely died from a blood clotting disorder, but months later, an autopsy found the cause of death to be exertional heat stroke. As (Bradforth's mother Joanne) Atkins-Ingram dug deeper, players told her they had had no water breaks during that conditioning test, that Bradforth was struggling and that Sims taunted Bradforth during the workout that pushed him to heat stroke.
Atkins-Ingram has named Sims, other Garden City coaches and the school among the defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A report from emergency personnel obtained by Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request indicates that Braeforth did not follow other players to a team meeting and when the meeting broke up, they discovered him on the ground moanting and in obvious distress.

Players called an assistant coach over. The coach called Sims to ask him what to do, according to the report and Sims told him to call the trainer, who had left the campus. By the time, emergency personnel were finally called and arrived, it had been 48 minutes since Braeforth had been found.

Braeden Braeforth was pronounced dead 33 minutes later.

This is Sims' first year at Missouri Southern.

Moran: Preisdent Trump and I agree; humanitarian crisis on southern border is dire, demands action

(From Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas)

The President and I agree that the humanitarian crisis on our southern border is dire and demands action.

This week, I voted to advance the Appropriation Committee’s $4.6 billion border supplemental package to provide much-needed resources to our southern border. 

The package protects our border and ports of entry by supporting our Customs and Border Protection personnel. 

This funding also improves existing border facilities and creates more space to process the influx of migrants in an orderly and humane manner. 

The full Senate and House must vote on this package before sending to the President’s desk for his signature.

Governor's office asks President Trump for major disaster declaration after severe flooding

(From the Office of Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, acting on behalf of Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe requested that President Donald Trump issue a major disaster declaration to assist residents and businesses in 41 Missouri counties that have been hard hit by flooding, tornadoes, and severe storms beginning on April 29 and continuing throughout the spring.

“Historic long-term flooding continues to devastate families, businesses, and communities across Missouri,”Governor Parson said. “As I’ve traveled across the state, I’ve seen families battling to clean up flood-damaged homes, and others struggling because their homes are still under water. In addition, in late May, our state was battered by tornadoes and storms that destroyed or heavily damaged almost one thousand homes. Communities and volunteers are working hard to help their neighbors, but there’s a clear need for federal assistance to help Missouri families recover.”

Governor Parson said joint Preliminary Damage Assessments, conducted by the State Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local officials, examined 1,650 primary homes, of which 953 had been destroyed or sustained major damage. The assessments also showed that 125 of 251 businesses that were examined had been destroyed or sustained major damage.

Based on the joint assessments, the state requests Individual Assistance for 41 Missouri counties. Individual Assistance would allow eligible residents to seek federal assistance with temporary housing, housing repairs, replacement of damaged belongings, vehicles, and other qualifying expenses as a result of the flooding and storms. Those counties are Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Barton, Boone, Buchanan, Callaway, Carroll,Chariton, Christian, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Douglas, Gasconade, Greene, Grundy, Harrison,Hickory, Holt, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lafayette, Lewis, Lincoln, Livingston,Macon, Miller, Osage, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Saline, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Ste. Genevieve.

Seven teams began conducting joint damage assessments today for Public Assistance, which would allow local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies to seek federal assistance for reimbursement of emergency response and recovery costs, including repair and replacement costs for damaged roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure.

The state expects to request Public Assistance once joint Preliminary Damage Assessments are completed in 64 counties. Those counties are Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Barry, Barton, Bates, Bollinger, Buchanan,Caldwell, Camden, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Clark, Cole, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, Douglas, Dunklin,Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Holt, Jasper, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lewis, Linn,Livingston, Macon, Maries, Marion, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, New Madrid, Nodaway,Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Ray, St. Clair, Ste. Genevieve, Saline, Schuyler,Scotland, Shannon, Shelby, Stoddard, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Webster, and Wright.

Additional joint damage assessments for public assistance may be conducted in more Missouri counties as additional information is gathered locally when floodwaters recede.

To assist families impacted by flooding and severe storms, several Multi-Agency Resource Centers are being organized across the state. MARCs are one-stop shops that pull together recovery resources in communities impacted by disasters. Among the agencies participating are SEMA, the American Red Cross,Missouri Department of Social Services, Missouri Department of Mental Health, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Department of Insurance,Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, local public health agencies, and faith-based and volunteer agencies.

Three MARCs will take place this week, in Independence, Brunswick, and Boonville:

Tuesday, June 25

Silverstein Eye Centers Arena

19100 E. Valley Pkwy | Independence, MO 64055

11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 26

Brunswick R-2 High School

1008 County Road | Brunswick, MO 65236

11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday, June 28

Open Bible Praise Center

16991 Hwy 87 | Boonville, MO 65233

11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Individuals with unmet needs should continue to contact United Way 211. Call 2-1-1 for assistance or visit Find more information as it becomes available about disaster resources, including additional MARC locations at

On May 20, President Trump approved Governor Parson’s request for a major disaster declaration to help local governments and nonprofit agencies in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Holt, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Platte, Ray, and Ste. Genevieve counties recover from devastating flooding and severe storms that occurred from March 11 to April 16. 

The declaration made federal assistance available for the repair of damaged roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure, along with emergency response costs associated with the storms and flooding. The Governor’s April 24 request stated $25 million in qualifying expenses had already been identified.

On May 21, Governor Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to continuing severe weather and forecasts for tornadoes and worsening flooding due to prolonged soil inundation throughout the state. On May 23, the Governor surveyed overnight tornado damage of Jefferson City, Eldon, and Carl Junction and thanked emergency personnel for their severe weather response. On May 27, Governor Parson activated the Missouri National Guard to assist with flood fighting efforts throughout the state.

Lieutenant governor to sign Senate Bill 397 enabling establishment of Museum and Cultural District in Joplin today

(From Connect2Culture)

Senate Bill 397, sponsored by Senator Bill White and handled in the House by Representative Lane Roberts, will be signed by Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe during a ceremony set for 3:00pm on Monday, June 24, 2019 at George A. Spiva Center for the Arts (222 West 3rd Street, Joplin, MO, 64801).

Senate Bill 397 amended Section 185.815 of the Missouri Museum and Cultural District Act, extending the time period for property owners to form a Museum and Cultural District following a Presidential declaration establishing a disaster area from 5 to 15 years. For Joplin, this extends the time period that had expired as of May 2016 to May 2026.

Senate Bill 397 passed as a “clean bill” with no amendments by a vote of 33-0 in the Missouri Senate and a vote of 140-3, with 17 abstentions, in the Missouri House of Representatives. “Passing this bill by such strong votes as a ‘clean bill’ is a testament to the outstanding work and effort by Senator White and Representative Roberts with the full support of all Southwest Missouri Legislators,” said Clifford Wert, Connect2Culture President & CFO.

The Missouri Museum and Cultural District Act allows non-contiguous property owners to form a District within an approved redevelopment plan area, as adopted by municipal ordinance, within three years after a Presidential declaration. The proposed map for Joplin will be available at the signing ceremony on June 24, 2019. The purpose of the District is to promote community culture and the arts, recreation and knowledge – including supporting or promoting the performing arts, theater, music, entertainment, public spaces, public libraries, or other public assets.

Section 184.840 states that a district may receive and use funds for the purpose of planning, designing, constructing, reconstructing, maintaining and operating one or more museums and cultural assets, and conducting educational programs in connection with the museum or cultural assets.

Funding for the district may be generated in the form of: 1) sales tax collected at a retail operation of a participating property owner at a rate of either one-half of one percent, three-fourth of one percent, or one percent; 2) admission fee at a rate no more than one dollar per seat or admission; 3) a combination of a sales tax and admission fee.

This change to the Missouri Museum and Cultural District Act was one of the recommendations proposed in the final Vision Joplin 2022 report to the Joplin City Council through the efforts of its Quality of Life – Arts & Culture Subcommittee. Connect2Culture took the lead on this initiative, encouraging the City of Joplin to pursue this one-word change. Connect2Culture requested a partnership with the City to engage Burton/Liese Government Relations represented by Gary Burton. Mr. Burton worked with local legislators to get the bill filed.

“This partnership action between Connect2Culture and the City of Joplin, through the outstanding efforts of Mr. Burton and our elected State legislators, specifically Senator White and Representative Roberts, translates into a future opportunity for Joplin property owners to support operations of museums and cultural assets in Joplin,” said Wert.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Carthage man crashes into bridge, tells police he's "too drunk" to take field sobriety tests

A 1:30 p.m. July 1 arraignment is scheduled for a Carthage man who was arrested on a felony driving while intoxicated charge after slamming into a bridge on Central Avenue.

According to the probable cause statement, when Carthage Police arrived, multiple beer bottles were strewn along the roadway near the vehicle that had been driven by Stephan Winans, 32.

Winans was unable to stand without swaying or falling over. Winans' eyes were bloodshot and glossy Winans was so impaired that he was unable to perform standardized field sobriety tests. Winans stated he was "too drunk to do it."

The investigation determined Winans was traveling east on Central when he struck a traffic light pole, disabling his vehicle.

The probable cause statement indicates Winans' blood alcohol content registered at .282, more than three times the legal limit for intoxication.

Online court records show Winans was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2012 and is two years into a five-year probation after pleading guilty to a felony non-support charge in 2017.

Winans is free after posting $10,000 bond.

Nancy Hughes: Praying as long as it takes

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has
granted me what I asked of him.”
I Samuel 1:27 (NIV)

I loved tucking my small children into bed at night. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can still smell the scent of Ivory soap on freshly scrubbed little faces as they snuggled into sheets that had been drying on the line outside. But perhaps the most fun of all was bowing my head with them as they said bedtime prayers.

Children have a way of stating simple but profound truths and I have no doubt that God smiles and lovingly focuses on each one. On one particular evening I listened as my seven-year old son asked the Lord to watch over an elderly neighbor who had not been feeling well for a few days.

Next my almost three year old asked God to help her catch Penelope, her cat, so that she could, in her words, “put my doll clothes on the poor, ole thang.” The last one to pray was my five year old. She put her little hands together, closed her eyes, and prayed with all her heart “Lord, Lord, when I grow up, help me to find the right man!”

I could not help but smile at her precious request of God as I kissed them all goodnight and shut the bedroom door. But before I could take two steps, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart: “Why are you smiling? That is exactly what you should be praying every day for your children.”

Instantly I was convicted of that huge responsibility and fervently prayed my sweet daughter’s prayer for a mate over each of them from that moment on.

Scripture tells us that Hannah had prayed fervently to become pregnant and God had granted her request. But what encourages me is that she didn’t pray once or twice and then sit back, waiting for an answer. I Samuel 1:3 says that year after year she and her husband went go to the sanctuary at Shiloh to worship and each time Hannah begged God for a child. Year after year after year.

Are you daily lifting up the future spouse for your son or daughter? That should be one of your first prayer requests each morning and the last one before you go to bed each night, year after year. We are encouraged in I Thessalonians to pray continually and to joyfully wait for an answer, even if it takes weeks or months . . . or years.

The Lord answered Hannah’s persistent prayer with a son that she named Samuel. And, in case you are wondering, He is answering my prayers for my children, too. Both of my daughters are married to Godly men who love the Lord and their families.

Join me in praying – as long as it takes – for Christian spouses for our sons and daughters.

Father, may I continue to be faithful in prayer, no matter how long it takes, for my children and their future spouses. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you given serious thought to the spouse that your son or daughter will one day marry?
Are you willing to pray as long as it takes to ask the Lord to bring the right person into their lives?


No matter the age of your child, spend one minute each day asking God to bring a Christian spouse into his or her life.

Periodically share Scripture about a Godly spouse with your child and pray with them that God will bring that person into their lives in His timing.


I Samuel 1:27 (NIV) “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.”

Galatians 6:9 (NIV) “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) “Be joyful always; pray continually . . .”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, eheck out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Some thoughts about Scott Smith, trucks, my next book signing and this week's top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

While I have written before about why I started posting free obituaries on the Inside Joplin Obituaries blog in November 2013, there has been an unexpected benefit that has come from that decision.

I have learned a lot about the people of this area, some of whom I knew before, but many, sadly, I never met until I became acquainted through their obituaries.

Many of the most visited obituaries on Inside Joplin Obituaries are of people whose lives were cut tragically short in their teens or 20s, or people who met horrific deaths in accidents or as a result of violent acts committed by others.

The obituaries of former teachers and school administrators usually draw heavy traffic because of the number of people who went through their schools or classrooms and often times those who have served in political office or whose names have been featured prominently in the news also receive a large number of visitors.

Sometimes, however, the people whose deaths are felt the most are not those we see every day or read about in the newspapers and see on television.

And this week, an obituary that grabbed my attention and the attention of a few thousand more of you was not the death of someone famous or someone notorious, but someone who greeted everyone with a kind word, a friendly smile and left you feeling good.

It almost made you wish you didn't see only see him every 3,000 miles.

The readership on Scott Smith's obituary started slowly when it was first published Tuesday, but has continued to grow through the week.

For a quarter of a century, he almost made the chore of getting your oil changed at Barney's Quick Lube in Joplin a regularly awaited pleasure.

When you pulled your car into the business on 32nd Street, you never felt like he was running it through an assembly line, though the business always had a steady supply of customers.

Scott Smith made you feel like your car was the most important one he was servicing that day and through a smile and a friendly conversation, he made you feel like you were the most important person who was going through the regular car maintenance.

That's a rare gift. He will be missed.

Trucks and pickups

I received an e-mail earlier this week that caught me off guard.

On Thursday, I ran a post on the Inside Joplin blog headlined "Barton County Sheriff investigating reports of men in trucks trying to lure children by using puppies, ice cream truck melodies."

The writer thought that I was giving truckers a bad name and stressed the difference between trucks and pickups.

The writer made excellent points and gave me something to think about if something like this ever comes up again.

I had considered using a different word in the headline and had considered using "pickups," but decided against it, primarily because the news release from the sheriff's office referred to "trucks" and I have never heard any references to ice cream pickups.

I also am unaware of anyone associating over-the-road truckers with targeting children.

But I will give it careful thought.

Signing July 20 at The Book Guy in Joplin

My next signing for Lost Angels: The Murders of Rowan Ford and Doug Ringler will be held 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, July 20, at The Book Guy.708 E. 15th Street in Joplin.

The Book Guy has copies of 5:41: Stories from the Lost Tornado, Scars from the Tornado, and Newton County Memories, in addition to Lost Angels.

I will have copies of my other books, available on the 20th, as well.

The signing will be in conjunction with the biggest sale of the year at The Book Guy.

Lost Angels is also available online at at the links below and can be purchased at Always Buying Books and Changing Hands Book Shop in Joplin, Granby Auto Supply and Hardware in Granby and Pat's Books in Carthage.

This week's top 10 most visited posts for the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries are listed below the Amazon ads with links to each.

The Turner Report

1. Probable cause: Joplin man murdered the mother of his grandchildren, shot his son and left him in critical condition

2. Probable cause statement: Lamar man kidnapped woman, threatened to "damn shoot" her

3. January cyberattack on MSSU exposed personal information about students, alumni

4. Neosho driver discovers saying "I'm drunk" during 7th and Maiden Lane stop does not ptevent DWI charge

5. Services being held for murder victim, accused killer pleads not guilty

6. Former Sarcoxie teacher pleads not guilty to sex charge involving student

7. Jalen Vaden to Jayda Kyle's father- I pray you know I didn't do this to her

8. Arraignment for former Sarcoxie teacher charged with sex crime set for Wednesday

9. Former Joplin police officer receives probation on assault charge in connection with DWI injury crash

10. Cynthia Davis: Truck drivers used to be considered gentlemen; now some of them can't even speak English

 Thanks for supporting the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries with your subscription or contribution through the PayPal buttons below or by sending your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Inside Joplin

1, Joplin woman killed, two men wounded in shootout at 8571 Eloise Lane

2. Wichita man drowns on Elk River in Noel while attempting to rescue female swimmer

3. Barton County Sheriff investigating reports of men in trucks trying ot lure children by using puppies, ice cream truck melodies

4. Joplin man arrested on weapons charge following disturbance on 500 block of South Joplin Avenue

5. New HIghway Patrol troopers in Troop A include Joplin, Webb City, Lamar natives

6. Motorcyclist seriously injured in collision at 22nd and Maiden lane

7. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

8, Joplin Police identify motorcyclist critically injured in crash at 22nd Street and Maiden Lane

9. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

10, Diamond trucker killed, two injured in fiery four-vehicle crash on I-44

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Sarah Tyminski

2. Scott Smith

3. Angie McCauley

4. Samantha Harr

5. Bobby Horton

6. Katherine Phillips

7. Corey Ellis

8. Vern Young

9. Bob Talley

10. Tim Hayes

Jasper County deputies use K-9, taser to capture drunk driving armed felon in stolen car in Carl Junction

A 1:15 p.m. Monday arraignment is scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for a Pittsburg, Kansas, man charged with four felonies in connection with a pursuit Tuesday that began in Crawford County that ended in Carl Junction with a shot allegedly fired by the accused and the deployment of a K-9 and a taser.

William Askew, 38, faces charges of DWI as a persistent offender, resisting arrest, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm in Jasper County, as well as auto theft in Crawford County.

The pursuit that led to the arrest of Askew is described in the probable cause statement:

On June 18, 2019 at 0938 hours I, Deputy (George) Datum responded to a vehicle pursuit with possible shots fired at Hill Ln and County Road 304 in Carl Junction, Jasper County MO. 

Upon arrival William Askew shot one single round in an unknown direction when he exited the stolen vehicle he had fled from officers in. (Askew) refused to comply with orders resulting in a K9 apprehension and taser deployment. 

A criminal history checked located several prior felony convictions for drugs and assaults. A single barrel shotgun was located with a spent 12 gauge shotgun shell. I observed the rifle having grinding marks on the side as if a serial number was removed. 

William was taken into custody at 1039 hours and transported to the Jasper County Detention Center for resisting arrest, armed criminal action, Stealing a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm, Unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a defaced firearm."

In a separate report, Jasper County deputy Jonah Holly described the DWI arrest:

I attempted to set my issued spike strips at County Road 255 I saw William Askew driving the truck while swerving to miss the spikes.

When William was taken into custody at the end, I was able to smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Williams’s person. A PBT showed alcohol in his system with a .149. William was taken to the County Jail where he refused SFST’s. William gave a BAC of .152. William has a history with DWIs.