The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 29, 2013

Joplin dad gets five years probation; man smoked synthetic marijuana with 15-year-old daughter

A Joplin father who provided the synthetic marijuana product K2 to his 15-year-old daughter and her girlfriend was assessed probation Monday on a conviction for felony child endangerment.

Judge David Dally granted William M. Hillegus, 40, a suspended imposition of sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years at a sentencing hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin. The judge also ordered that Hillegus have no contact with his daughter as a condition of his probation.

Hillegus provided his daughter with a “blunt,” or cigarette, of K2 on April 20, 2011, and she smoked it with him and her 14-year-old girlfriend, who became sick and vomited, according to the daughter’s testimony at a preliminary hearing two years ago. The daughter was admitted to a hospital later that night with a high heart rate.

The daughter told investigators that her father had given her K2 twice previously, after a father-daughter dance and on her birthday, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

K2 products are a mixture of plant material and a chemical compound similar to THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. They were widely sold as “incense” and “potpourri” in various area retail outlets until a recent federal crackdown.

A Kansas man pleaded guilty a week ago in federal court to charges that he had made more than $250,000 selling synthetic cannabinoids in a Joplin shop on West 20th Street known as The Looking Glass.

Dismissed charges

WILLIAM HILLEGUS was charged in June 2011 with child endangerment for smoking K2 with his daughter and her girlfriend, after an investigation by Joplin police. On July 23 of the same year, he was arrested on felony charges of domestic assault and possession of methamphetamine after he allegedly choked his ex-girlfriend with a belt. Those charges were later dropped when she declined to testify against him.

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