A 31-year-old Joplin man pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge in an alleged drug-trafficking case in Jasper County Circuit Court.
Benjamin S. Wright pleaded guilty to felony possession of crack cocaine in a plea deal with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that would limit the prison time he might receive to no more than three years. Wright had been charged with second-degree trafficking in drugs, which can carry from five to 15 years in prison.
Circuit Judge David Mouton delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea bargain, and ordered the completion of a sentencing-assessment report on the defendant. The judge set Wright’s sentencing hearing for Nov. 16.
The defendant was arrested on the charge Aug. 8, 2010, after being observed by a police officer allegedly smoking marijuana with two other men outside the Vibe nightclub on East Seventh Street. A probable-cause affidavit states that the officer saw what he believed to be a hand-to-hand sale of drugs take place and confronted the men. Wright reportedly fled but was caught less than a block away.
The affidavit states that he had a bag containing 2.5 grams of crack cocaine and a bag containing some marijuana in his possession.
- Crime & Courts
State’s key witness testifies in murder trial
The fate of Dustin Boggs may ultimately depend on the credibility of Arturo Council. If jurors believe Council, then Boggs, 25, could be convicted of first-degree murder in the 2012 stabbing and shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Danyel Borden, 21, at his trial this week in Ottawa County District Court.
Witness describes death of Danyel Borden in second day of murder trial for Dustin Boggs
Arturo Council described for a jury today how Dustin Boggs attacked and killed Danyel Borden a year ago on an Ottawa County road.
Police warning of men posing as utility workers
The Joplin Police Department issued a warning Monday regarding reports of one or more impostors showing up at the doors of elderly residents and pretending to be Empire District Electric Co. employees checking on circuit breaker boxes.
New Mexico man draws prison term in Joplin child-rape case
A 59-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a developmentally disabled 8-year-old girl in Joplin. Robert L. Newton pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to first-degree statutory rape, first-degree statutory sodomy and felony failure to appear in court in a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office.
Alcohol, speed suspected factors in fatal crash Saturday
The driver in a double-fatality accident Saturday in Joplin is suspected of having been intoxicated and speeding at almost twice the posted limit. He may also have been attempting a trick-driving maneuver, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
Former disaster relief worker, others indicted for fraud following Joplin tornado
A federal grand jury has indicted a former employee of the Economic Security Corp. in Joplin, her boyfriend and a third alleged conspirator in connection with the defrauding of the government via tornado relief funds. A sealed, three-count indictment was returned June 11 in U.S. District Court in Springfield against Herlana L. Latham, 31, and Christopher L. Smith, 36, both of Memphis, Tenn., and John L. Williams, 30, of Cairo, Ill. T
Wounded driver in police shooting charged
A suspect accused of trying to run down two Joplin police officers with a sport utility vehicle early Sunday was winged in an arm and hand when the officers shot at him in response, police said. Brandon J. Knoderer, 32, underwent surgery Monday at a Joplin hospital to remove bullet fragments from his right arm and left hand.
Crash in Joplin claims two lives; charges being sought on driver
Two people were killed and a third occupant injured in a single-vehicle crash early today in Joplin, resulting in manslaughter charges being sought against the driver.
Two area men die as result of crash injuries
A Lamar man died of injuries sustained in a single-vehicle accident at 10:05 p.m. Thursday on Route T, four miles southeast of Lamar in Barton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Judge orders trial for infant’s mother; woman faces manslaughter charge
A judge has ruled that an Arma woman should be tried on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, and not murder, in the death of her 4-month-old baby. District Judge A.J. Wachter ordered Heather L. Buckalew, 25, bound over for trial on the manslaughter charge at the conclusion of a hearing this week in Crawford County District Court in Pittsburg.
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- State’s key witness testifies in murder trial