The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 9, 2012

Joplin man waives preliminary hearing in baby’s death

A judge ordered Eric J. Hicks bound over for trial Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder in the October death of 18-month-old Emjay Corn of Joplin.

Hicks, 28, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court and was ordered to stand trial by Associate Judge Richard Copeland. The judge set the defendant’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court for May 21.

The boy had been left in the care of Hicks when the child’s mother, Nichole Hall, 32, was taken into custody on Oct. 27 for a mental-health evaluation. Hicks is Hall’s boyfriend and lived with her and the child at 1322 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

He is accused of inflicting the blunt force trauma to the boy’s head that a medical examiner believes was the cause of the child’s death.

Hicks was arrested initially on a felony charge of child endangerment for allegedly leaving the boy alone in the house while he went to an appointment at a methadone clinic. Methadone is a drug used to treat addictions to other narcotics.

The endangerment charge was dropped in March and the murder charge was filed instead. Hicks has remained in custody since that time on a $50,000 bond.

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