The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

July 24, 2012

Springfield man pleads guilty in gunshot case

A Springfield man has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in a Jasper County case involving a gunshot allegedly fired at a truck driver on Interstate 44.

Nicholas S. Cox, 46, pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to a Class C felony charge of unlawful possession of a firearm in a deal with the prosecutor’s office.

Cox had been facing a Class B felony count of discharging a firearm into a vehicle, which carries five to 15 years in prison. The reduced charge carries up to seven years in prison.

Circuit Judge David Dally delayed formal action on the plea agreement and ordered the completion of a sentencing-assessment report. The judge set Cox’s sentencing hearing for Sept. 24.

Cox was accused of firing a shot from a .22-caliber revolver into the trailer of a rig being driven by Buddy Hunter on April 12, 2011, near the Carthage exit on I-44.

Hunter testified at a preliminary hearing in December of last year that Cox was driving in an erratic manner, passing him and pulling in front of him, and shining a spotlight in his eyes, before pulling alongside him, waving the gun and firing the shot. Hunter told the court that if he had not sped up just as the shot was fired, the bullet might have entered his cab and struck him.

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