By Roger McKinney
LAMAR, Mo. —
Barton County Prosecutor Steven Kaderly on Wednesday charged a Mindenmines man with first-degree felony assault of another man, who was in serious condition at a Joplin hospital.
The felony charge against Charles Lee Kerby, 32, alleges that on Sunday he assaulted John Bryant, 58, causing serious physical injuries. The assault happened in the 800 block of Tucker Street in Mindenmines.
The Barton County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday activated the Southwest Missouri Major Case Squad to assist in the investigation.
A probable-cause affidavit written by Barton County Deputy Vernon Ring states that Bryant was first taken to Barton County Memorial Hospital in Lamar before being transported to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin. The affidavit states that Bryant’s brain had four locations that showed evidence of bleeding. He had multiple bruises on his face, including one below his right eye. It could have been caused by a foot impression, according to the document. He reportedly was heavily sedated because of his head injuries, and was on a ventilator and feeding tube.
A caller at 10:38 p.m. Sunday called 911, saying he saw a woman run out of a house on Tucker Street yelling, “He is killing him, he is killing him.”
The woman told Ring that she saw Kerby, standing in the kitchen, punch Bryant twice in the face, causing him to fall. She told the deputy that she saw Kerby punch Bryant again while he was on the floor. She said that is when she ran out of the house with her children.
In interviewing Kerby on Tuesday, Ring wrote that Kerby told him there wasn’t a tread pattern on Bryant’s face because he was wearing flip-flops. Kerby admitted to striking Bryant twice in the jaw, according to the affidavit.
Kerby was in custody Wednesday at the Barton County Jail.