The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 7, 2014

Joplin man pleads guilty to reduced weapon charge

A Joplin man pleaded guilty Monday to a felony weapon offense related to a road-rage incident about a year ago on Interstate 44.

Eric Ganes, 65, pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to an amended charge of unlawful use of a weapon. He originally was charged with discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle at a person or other vehicle. He was arrested Feb. 17 by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Ganes shot a .357-caliber revolver at a vehicle occupied by a man and his pregnant wife as the couple pulled onto an exit ramp of I-44 at the junction with Interstate 49 in Jasper County.

The shot shattered the driver’s window in the couple’s car, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

The couple got back on I-44 and caught up with Ganes’ pickup truck and horse trailer at an exit in Lawrence County, where he got out of his truck, pointed the gun at them again and yelled: “Get out of here!” He later told a state trooper that the couple had cut him off in traffic and tossed items out their windows that struck his windshield, allegations that could not be verified.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane ordered the completion of a sentencing-assessment report and set Ganes’ sentencing hearing for March 3. The conviction carries up to four years in prison.

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