The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

October 18, 2013

Murder case defendant being sought on new charges

JOPLIN, Mo. — A defendant in a Joplin murder case is facing new charges of forgery, possession of methamphetamine and assaulting an officer, all purportedly committed while free on bond.

Johnathan Taylor, 20, was arrested about 4 a.m. Thursday after an incident at Denny’s restaurant, 3600 S. Range Line Road.

Police Cpl. Chuck Niess said Taylor had asked a clerk at the restaurant if she would give him a $100 bill in exchange for two $50 bills. When the clerk, suspecting the two bills were counterfeit, declined to make the exchange, he reportedly left the business.

The restaurant called police and an officer located the van that Taylor was in and stopped him a short time later, Niess said.

During the traffic stop, Taylor disobeyed the officer’s instruction and got out of the van, Niess said. He then allegedly shoved the officer and was placed under arrest. During booking procedures at the jail, some marijuana and methamphetamine allegedly were found in his shoe.

But charges were not filed before 24 hours elapsed and Taylor was released early Friday. Later in the day, the Newton County prosecutor’s office charged him with forgery, misdemeanor assault on the officer, and felony possession of meth, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Police were still looking for him late Friday afternoon.

Taylor is one of five defendants charged with the murder of 23-year-old Joplin resident Jacob Wages on July 6, 2012. Wages was shot to death in the middle of the night inside his home at 1912 S. Pearl Ave. The defendants are believed to have been looking to steal a stash of Ecstasy pills that Wages had in his possession.

Taylor, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary, posted a $50,000 surety bond on Dec. 27 of last year and was released from jail. His next court hearing in the murder case is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Daniel Hartman, 18, the suspected shooter in the case, remains in custody on a $400,000 surety bond and a $50,000 cash bond. He is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary.

Cody Stephens, 21, of Parsons, Kan., who is charged with second-degree murder and burglary, is still in custody on a $50,000 bond.

Marcus Stephens and Elijah Taylor were under 17 at the time of the murder but were certified to stand trial as adults. Taylor, the brother of Johnathan Taylor, remains in custody in Tulsa, Okla. Stephens remains in custody in Jasper County on a $50,000 bond.  

Bond in jeopardy

Murder case defendant Johnathan Taylor is facing the likelihood of his bond being revoked when an arrest warrant based on new charges is served on him.

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