The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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July 8, 2013

Man pleads guilty to assaulting police officer

A 28-year-old defendant pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop more than a year ago in Joplin.

Michael D. Palmer pleaded guilty to felony assault on an officer in a plea agreement with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that caps the prison time that he might be assessed at no more than five years. Under terms of the deal, the prosecutor also has agreed not to oppose a suspended imposition of sentence.

According to a probable-cause affidavit, Palmer was accused of head-butting Officer Brian Wenberg on Feb. 26, 2012, as Wenberg was attempting to put handcuffs on him following a traffic stop by another officer. He also heel-stomped Wenberg’s foot twice and attempted to kick him in the knees, according to the affidavit.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea deal and ordered the completion of a sentencing-assessment report on the defendant. She set Palmer’s sentencing hearing for Sept. 9.

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