Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sentencing date set for Joplin man for kidnapping conspiracy that led to murder

A 9:30 a.m. April 16 sentencing has been scheduled for a Joplin man for his involvement in a kidnapping conspiracy that led to the murder of Michael James Hall, Joplin, whose decomposing body was discovered during the execution of a search warrant at 3517 Cherry Road in Joplin July 28, 2020.

The search warrant was executed at property owned by Russell Eugene Hurtt, 52,, whose guilty plea was accepted April 11, 2023 during a hearing in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

Details of the conspiracy were provided in the initial indictment:

On or about July 4, 2020, through July 6, 2020, HURTT sent text messages, through a cellular phone, to R.B. demanding R.B. provide the name of a male who drove a Dodge truck who assisted her and E.C. to take back a camper that TILTON had stolen from E.C.

HURTT informed R.B. through text messages that people who helped take the trailer back from TILTON were going to get hurt and probably killed, and R.B. might be one of the individuals hurt or killed.

HURTT told R.B. she needed to tell him where he could find the male or his name. R.B. finally disclosed, “All I know he said his name was mike and he was a brother or honky.”

HURTT conveyed that “Ol boy said u need to call him and talk to him on the phone cause ur looking guilty and hiding stuff ” and that R.B. needed to “get that dude to meet u somewhere where he can get him or find out where he can find him thats bottom line.”

HURTT continued to text message R.B. July 9, 2020, and July 12, 2020, indicating that “this shit aint going to stop just keep getting worse” until E.C. and the male were caught by TILTON. Mike was identified as the victim, M.H.

On July 5, 2020, HURTT sent a message via Facebook Messenger to TILTON asking if TILTON wanted HURTT to find “Mike” and TILTON stated “yes.”

On July 5, 2020, TILTON sent a message through Facebook Messenger to M.H. stating, “Whats up let’s finish this. That was lame what you did yesterday I wasn’t impressed at all see when I look her rv I called her and told her I took it and why I toke her shit because. She goes and puts money jarmy. Dills books the same one that was talking to thee fbi trying to set me up. So why you trying to help a rat. you crossed a line there for you will be punished I would have had respect for you if you wodnt have got scared and ran dragjng the rv when you knew I was coming run little scared punk run I will find you you picked the right one.”

On July 7, 2020, TILTON posted comments on his Facebook profile page under the profile name “Freddie TILTON” to M.H.

TILTON posted, “Whats up tough guy were you hiding?”

M.H. replied, “In your backyard. Get your Binoculars out.” TILTON then posted, “Well I don’t see you come out and face me like a man.”

TILTON noted that M.H. “f----- up” and he would not stop till he got him.

On July 8, 2020, TILTON sent messages through Facebook Messenger to R.B. stating, “see you are friends with M.H.” and “Im going to shot him in the face when I catch him. he f---ed up.”

On July 8, 2020, WARD sent a message to TILTON through Facebook Messenger stating, “Hey check it out here is that piece of s--- (M.H.) location I was able to reel him in so far.” WARD attached a screen shot of a map location.

On July 14, 2020, WARD picked M.H. up from Joplin, Missouri, and took him to VAUGHAN’s residence in Newton County, Missouri. WARD contacted VAUGHAN using her cellular phone to advise she had “company.”

WARD sent text messages to TILTON advising she had M.H. On July 14, 2020, WARD sent a message to TILTON through Facebook Messenger stating, “Get here I’ve got M.H.”

On or about July 14, 2020, VAUGHAN sent a text message to TILTON stating, “Call me quickly handing [M.H.] to you.”

On or about July 15, 2020, at 12:59:33 a.m. (UTC-5), VAUGHAN sent a text message to TILTON that read, “He’s got 2 guns.” At 2:15:10 a.m. (UTC-5), VAUGHAN sent a text message to TILTON that stated, “OK we’ve got both his guns put up.”

At 3:42:20 a.m. (UTC-5), VAUGHAN sent a text message to TILTON that read, “Guns are secure I’m waiting for you at the bridge.”

On or about July 15, 2020, THOMAS, GIBSON, and TILTON responded to VAUGHAN’s residence in the early morning hours. TILTON, THOMAS, and GIBSON bound M.H.’s hands with handcuffs and duct tape were placed arounds his mouth and other parts of his body.

THOMAS cut M.H. repeatedly with a knife and GIBSON beat M.H. with a club. TILTON shot M.H. in the head. These acts were conducted in VAUGHAN and WARD’s presence, as well as others known and unknown to the Grand Jury. (Note: Additional details provided in Hurtt's plea agreement indicate Thomas also used a blowtorch on Hall and that Tilton killed Hall by shooting him in the head.)

TILTON, THOMAS, GIBSON, VAUGHAN, and WARD cleaned up the blood and damage created during the assault and shooting of M.H. The defendants wrapped M.H.’s body in plastic wrap and transported it to HURTT’s property located in Newton County in a black BMW utilized by TILTON.

On or about July 15, 2020, at 11:11:42 p.m. (UTC-5), TILTON sent a text message to VAUGHAN that read, “You good my friend.”

At 11:16:12 p.m. (UTC-5), VAUGHAN responded, “Were good goon need a dining room set had a few.” The message continues at 11:17:25 p.m., “Holes in it so I burnt the whole thing figure with refinishing the floors it will look better anyway.”

On or about July 16, 2020, at 4:35:16 a.m. (UTC-5), VAUGHAN sent a text message to TILTON that read, “Everyone is good. Need a couple gallons of paint along with the reward for that one. Damn sprayed bleach on the blue Nd it turned lime green.”

On July 28, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant for HURTT’s property based on information that a deceased body was located on the acreage.

Upon attempting to contact occupants of the residence, TILTON fired multiple shots from inside the residence at law enforcement prior to being apprehended. Law enforcement located M.H.’s deceased body approximately 100 to 150 yards away from the residence on the property.

The sentencing for Amy Kay Thomas, 40, Joplin, is scheduled for March 5 in Springfield. Sealed sentencing memorandums from the government and Thomas' attorneys were filed today.

Others who have pleaded guilty in connection with the death of Hall were Freddy Lewis Tilton, 50, Joplin, Lawrence William Vaughan, aka "Scary Larry," 49, Neosho, James B. Gibson, 42, Webb City and Carla Jo Ward, 47, Joplin.


Anonymous said...

Throw the book at him!

Anonymous said...

Hard to write a studious comment for this one.

Anonymous said...

Governor Parson lets people out of prison early by commuting theior sentence!

Hopefully not this guy though!

He probably doesen't have the connections Britt Reid does though.