Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Trial for Joplin man charged with Christmas Eve killing set for next month

The first degree murder trial of Artilius Jordan, 49, Joplin, who is charged with the Christmas Eve 2017 murder of Sean Harris, 43, Joplin, is scheduled to begin Tuesday, January 14, in Jasper County Circuit Court.

The trial is scheduled to last four days.

Jordan is also charged with two counts of assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

The trial was delayed so Jordan could undergo a psychiatric evaluation. On January 28, while he was waiting for a bed to open at the Fulton State Hospital he wrote a letter to Judge Gayle Crane saying he was afraid to eat his meals.

"Ms. Crane, I am not making this up. The deputies here is putting something in my food. I know how I felt before I eat the food and it is making my head hurt bad."

Jordan wrote that the jailers on the third shift were no only putting something in his food, but they were using a special means to spike his drink.

"It tastes like spit is in it."

Jordan speculated the deputies had it in for him because of the man he is accused of killing. "(Sen Harris) was a regular in this jail and I'm not a regular jailhouse person. There's always a certain cup for me, a certain tray set to the side for me."

Jordan professed his innocence.

"I did not kill him. That's not what happened and i'm going to prove it to the court, if God is willing and I am still living."

It is uncertain how Jordan can claim his innocence since he insists he cannot remember what happened that night.

"I only remember bits and pieces because I had been drinking and drugging and was not taking my medication.

"But I am not a killer. I come from a Christian family, a righteous family, a God fearing family."

Jordan said his mother was a Christian woman and had raised him and his siblings properly, "but I strayed from the word of God and started seeing and hanging around with the wrong people."

According to the probable cause statement,Jordan shot Harris in cold blood because he believed Harris was having sex with his girlfriend.

Jordan went to a home at 627 S. Byers Avenue where his girlfriend was and where Harris was visiting to confront him, according to the statement. Jordan was accompanied by Moses Ramsey and Joseph Czahor.

Harris was coming down the stairs of the apartment building when Jordan pulled a handgun and with Ramsey's encouragement, shot Harris at least twice, with one of the shots hitting him in the chest, according to the probable cause statement. Harris died at Freeman West Hospital.

Initially, Ramsey was also charged with first degree murder, but that charge was eventually dropped.


A signing for the new book, The Buck Starts Here: Harry S. Truman and the City of Lamar will be held Saturday, December 14, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Always Buying Books in Joplin.

The book is available locally at Always Buying Books, Changing Hands Book Shoppe and The Book Guy in Joplin and at the Truman Birthplace and the Lamar Democrat office in Lamar and can also be purchased in paperback or e-book from Amazon at the links below.

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