JOPLIN, Mo. —
Three teenagers were bound over for trial Wednesday on charges that they robbed a holiday shopper of her purse at gunpoint in the parking lot of Northpark Mall in Joplin.
Two suspects in the case, Zachary T. Jones, 17, and Trevor M. Seigrist, 19, waived their right to a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court and were ordered bound over for trial on charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.
Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland decided that a third co-defendant, Brock A. Buffington, 18, should stand trial as well following a preliminary hearing at which the alleged victim testified.
Marina Kisseleva, 60, of Webb City, told the court that she parked at the mall and was getting out of her car on Dec. 11 when a young man wearing a mask came up behind her, and demanded her purse and phone.
She said her initial response was: “Are you kidding me?”
The robber informed her that he had a gun and that he’d shoot her, she said. When he started to pull the weapon out, she gave him her purse, and he climbed in a blue pickup truck and fled, she said.
Kisseleva testified that she only saw the gunman and a driver in the truck, although she later learned from police that there were three suspects involved. She said in court under cross-examination by public defender Elizabeth Satchell that she thought Buffington was the driver, although she seemed less than certain, even when he stood up at the defendant’s table and faced her at her request.
But Kimberly Fisher, assistant prosecutor, called Joplin police Detective Justin Barnett to testify that he interviewed Buffington following the arrests of the suspects that night, and Buffington admitted that he went to the mall with Seigrist and Jones to watch girls and that they wound up cruising the parking lot looking for a woman to rob.
The detective said Buffington told him that he was crouched down in the back seat of their extended-cab truck when the robbery took place.
Another detective testified that surveillance video obtained from a convenience store showed all three suspects in the store and buying items less than an hour after the robbery. He said Kisseleva’s purse was recovered from the trash bin of another business north of the convenience store.
Kisseleva testified that she had a little less than $50 in the purse, but the money and her driver’s license were gone when police found the purse and phone and returned them to her later that night.
A probable-cause affidavit states that video footage obtained from a convenience store in Webb City shows Brock Buffington buying beef jerky after the robbery of a woman outside Northpark Mall on Dec. 11 and that a beef jerky wrapper was found in the discarded purse of the victim.