The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 13, 2012

Judge dismisses ear-biting case against local man

Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland has dismissed a felony assault charge against a defendant accused of biting off a chunk of another man’s ear.

The judge had taken the case against Richard “Dickey” Clemmons, 46, of rural Joplin, under advisement after a preliminary hearing Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court. The judge subsequently dismissed the charge of second-degree assault for lack of probable cause.

Buddy Danley testified at the hearing that Clemmons bit off the top of his ear during a fight at the chat piles northwest of Joplin known as Snowball on May 21 of last year. But Clemmons took the witness stand at the hearing to deny biting off Danley’s ear, and to show the court pictures of his own injuries from the fight suggesting that he may have been the true victim in the case.

Clemmons’ attorney, R. Deryl Edwards, also called a third-party witness at the hearing. William Johnson said he was target shooting at the chat piles with his cousin the day in question. He told the court that he saw Danley punch Clemmons and the woman who was with Danley begin kicking Clemmons when the two men wrestled each other to the ground.

The defendant’s 20-year-old son, Richard R. Clemmons, also had been charged with the assault. But the prosecutor’s office dropped the charge against him before Thursday’s hearing for lack of evidence.

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