The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

November 7, 2012

Testimony in murder case implicates others

JOPLIN, Mo. — Testifying on Wednesday that Daniel Hartman shot and killed Jacob Wages in a home-invasion robbery, co-defendant Elijah Taylor implicated two uncharged acquaintances with involvement in the crime but did not implicate his brother, who stands charged as an accomplice.

Wages, 23, was slain in the early morning hours of July 6 inside his home at 1912 S. Pearl Ave. in what Joplin police say was an attempt to rob him of drugs and money.

Four suspects are in custody in the case, including Hartman, 17, a reputed gang member from Tulsa, Okla., and Taylor, who was 16 at the time but is now 17 and was certified in August in Jasper County Juvenile Court to stand trial as an adult.

The prosecutor’s office used Taylor’s testimony at a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court to get Hartman, the suspected shooter, bound over for trial on charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary. The state’s witness, who denied being offered any incentives in exchange for his testimony, subsequently waived his own preliminary hearing on charges of second-degree murder and burglary.

His brother, Johnathan J. Taylor, 19, of Joplin, and Cody E. Stephens, 20, of Parsons, Kan., also are charged with second-degree murder and burglary in the case. A fifth suspect, a juvenile from Tulsa, remains at large.

Elijah Taylor testified that he went to Wages’ home in the company of Hartman, Stephens, the juvenile who remains a fugitive and another man who stayed in their car that they parked at a church across the street. He did not say that his brother was with them.

He told the court that they had heard from another acquaintance that Wages was in possession of a pound of Mollies, slang for Ecstasy pills, and $5,000 in cash, and that they could find them in a black box near the front door of the residence.

“Cody kicked in the door, and we went in looking for a black box,” he said.

He said Wages was lying on a bed in his bedroom when the four intruders came through the door.

“Jacob woke up and he got shot,” Taylor said.

“Who shot him?” Assistant Prosecutor Theresa Kenney asked.

“Daniel,” he said.

Defense attorney William Fleischaker asked what happened when they broke in. Taylor said Wages got up from the bed and appeared to stretch just before he was shot.

“He just stretched and got killed,” he said.

Taylor said Wages had a gun in his hands, but Hartman shot him with a handgun that Hartman pulled from his waistband, and Wages fell to the floor. He denied knowing before the break-in that Hartman was in possession of a gun. He said when Hartman shot Wages, they all fled the house.

Police have said that a lockbox and an assault rifle were taken in the robbery. But Taylor denied seeing any black box or having any knowledge of the missing assault rifle. He said he never saw an assault rifle in their car as they fled.

According to his testimony, he had never been to Wages’ home previously. He said Stephens and the acquaintance who tipped them to the presence of a black box knew Wages. He said the acquaintance told them that he had been there that night, and knocked on the door and no one answered.

Fleischaker asked Taylor if they had reached an agreement with the acquaintance in advance to cut him in on whatever loot they managed to get, and he said they had agreed to give him a split.

Neither the acquaintance who Taylor said tipped them to the drugs and money nor the acquaintance who he said accompanied them in the car has been charged in the case. Kenney said after the hearing that the prosecutor’s office will be looking into the matter further in light of that testimony.

Fleischaker asked Taylor repeatedly if he had been promised anything by the prosecutor’s office. He denied having been offered any deals but acknowledged having been advised that he might be asked about the matter.

“They just said I should tell the truth,” he said.

State’s witness

UNDER CROSS-EXAMINATION Wednesday, state’s witness Elijah Taylor denied initially having told police that he knew nothing about anyone having been shot during a home-invasion robbery July 6 in Joplin.

Text Only
Crime & Courts
  • Neosho man hurt in scooter accident north of Goodman

    A Neosho man was injured in a scooter accident at 3:40 p.m. Friday on Missouri Highway 59, two miles north of Goodman in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    April 18, 2014

  • Joplin police seize pound of meth after traffic stop

    Joplin police seized about a pound of methamphetamine and $2,000 cash in a traffic stop Thursday at 17th Street and Maiden Lane.

    April 18, 2014

  • Two-year-old boy, stepfather suffer gas-fire burns

    ARMA, Kan. — A 2-year-old boy and his stepfather suffered burns Friday afternoon when a plastic gasoline container left near a fire pit ignited, according to the Arma Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Court date set for defendant in stabbing case

    GIRARD, Kan. — A suspect is being held at the Crawford County Jail on a charge of attempted murder in the stabbing of another man Wednesday afternoon in Girard.

    April 18, 2014

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    A family whose teenage daughter’s suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jeffery Bruner.JPG Defendant denied change of venue in MSSU coach slaying

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a motion for a change of venue for Jeffrey Bruner, the defendant charged with killing Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach Derek Moore.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Reeds man granted probation in case involving gunshots

    A Jasper County judge has granted suspended sentences to a rural Reeds man who tore up a campsite with his truck in a drunken rage and fired a gun at another driver and a sheriff’s deputy.

    April 17, 2014

  • Joplin man faces burglary charge after incident

    A 31-year-old man is facing a burglary charge following an incident Wednesday afternoon at a business near downtown Joplin.

    April 17, 2014

Local News

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case