The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 2, 2012

Man sentenced to four-year term for endangering son

A Jasper County judge sentenced a Sarcoxie man to four years in prison Monday on a felony conviction for endangerment of his infant son.

Larry C. Gates was assessed the prison term by Circuit Judge David Dally at a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin.

Gates, 34, initially was charged with child abuse after an investigation in March by the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services and Sarcoxie police. A state investigator reportedly discovered the defendant’s 3-month-old son with scrapes and bruises that the medical staff at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin believed were caused by abuse, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

The defendant pleaded guilty in July to a reduced charge of child endangerment in a plea agreement with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that limited the prison time he might be assessed to no more than four years. In a plea document, Gates acknowledged regularly smoking methamphetamine in the baby’s presence.