By Jeff Lehr
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Two suspects are in custody on charges that they used a weapon of medieval origin called a spiked flail to assault and rob a woman two weeks ago in Joplin.
Seth R. Langford, 25, of Galena, Kan., and Amber D. Duncan, 28, of Joplin, were arrested Wednesday after an investigation by Joplin police of the assault and robbery of Connie J. Hendrix, 35, outside an apartment in the 3400 block of South Texas Avenue.
Hendrix went to the apartment complex about 1:45 a.m. on April 17 to see a friend who was having an argument with her boyfriend, according to a police report and a probable-cause affidavit.
The affidavit states that she encountered Langford in the parking lot of the complex and stopped to ask him if he knew where the friend was. Langford told her that the friend was in her apartment, the affidavit states.
Hendrix parked her vehicle, got out and was approaching the friend’s apartment when Duncan reportedly emerged from the residence and began arguing with her. Langford walked up and joined in the argument, taking Duncan’s side. The affidavit does not state the nature of the argument.
As the dispute continued, Langford reportedly went to his parked vehicle twice, returning the first time to hand Duncan a weapon described in the affidavit as a length of pipe about a foot long with a chain attached at one end and a spiked metal ball at the end of the chain. The second time, he returned with an object that Hendrix was unable to see, the affidavit states.
Hendrix told police that Langford and Duncan, thus armed, began moving in on her, forcing her to back up until Duncan said: “Let’s do what we came here to do.” Hendrix told police that Duncan then swung the spiked flail in an overhand throwing motion that caused the weapon to strike the left side of her mouth.
Hendrix grabbed her face and leaned forward, and she was struck several times in the back of the head with an unknown hard object, causing her to drop her purse and fall to her knees, the affidavit states. The assailants then grabbed her purse and fled the scene in Langford’s Jeep, the affidavit alleges.
The beaten woman was taken to a hospital by the boyfriend of the friend she had gone there to see. Her injuries reportedly included a 3-inch gash of her lip and cheek that cut through to the inside of her mouth. Several teeth on that side of her face were knocked out, and a partial denture dislodged and jammed back into her tonsils, which a doctor had to repair. She also suffered a laceration to the back of her head.
The Newton County prosecutor has charged Langford and Duncan with first-degree assault, armed criminal action and first-degree robbery. They remained in custody Thursday at the Newton County Jail in Neosho with their bonds set at $200,000 each.
CONNIE HENDRIX knows her two alleged assailants, Amber D. Duncan and Seth R. Langford, and has associated with them in the past, according to police.