The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 20, 2012

Man pleads guilty in assault; judge grants probation

A rural Joplin man pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and received a suspended sentence for an assault on his girlfriend eight months ago.

Gatlin M. Pennington, 19, pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to misdemeanor assault in a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office.

Pennington had been facing a felony count of second-degree assault for hitting Sarah Wesson, 19, and causing a head injury during a dispute Oct. 29 of last year at their home on County Lane 286. A probable-cause affidavit states that Wesson was uncertain if Pennington struck her with his fist or some object, but the blow left a knot and a cut on her forehead.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane accepted the plea arrangement and sentenced Pennington to one year in jail, with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on probation for a year. The judge ordered that he complete a program presenting alternatives to violence as a condition of his probation.