The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

September 13, 2012

Prosecution drops second count in weapons cases

The Jasper County prosecutor’s office has dropped one of the charges that a 22-year-old man was facing in connection with two drive-by shootings about a year ago in Joplin.

Joel A. Lopez waived his right to preliminary hearings Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court on felony counts of discharging a firearm into a residence or vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland ordered Lopez bound over for trial on those charges but dismissed a second count of discharging a firearm into a residence or vehicle at the request of the prosecutor’s office. Theresa Kenney, assistant prosecutor, said the charge was being dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Both weapons charges stemmed from shooting incidents on Aug. 28, 2011. A probable-cause affidavit states that several shots were fired from a moving vehicle at a house at 205 S. McConnell Ave. and the cars parked in its driveway. A short time later, about eight shots were fired from a vehicle at another vehicle near Duquesne, according to the affidavit. The second shooting took place near the home of a friend of the occupants of the house on McConnell Avenue, the affidavit states.

Lopez and his brother, Julio Lopez, were arrested and charged with the shootings following a standoff with police at their residence at 2637 E. Sixth St. that involved the Joplin Police Department’s special weapons and tactics team.

Joel Lopez’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court has been set for Sept. 24.

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