The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 25, 2013

Defendant sent to prison in double stabbing

By Jeff Lehr
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man took a plea offer Monday from the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that resulted in a 10-year prison term in a double-stabbing case.

Kennes L. Scaife, 40, entered Alford pleas to single counts of first-degree assault and armed criminal action in a plea agreement that capped the sentences he would be assessed at 10 years and three years, and called for the terms to run concurrently.

Circuit Judge David Dally accepted the plea deal and assessed the defendant concurrent terms of those lengths at Scaife’s plea and sentencing hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court. Alford pleas admit no guilt but concede that a conviction is likely if the matter were to proceed to trial.

Scaife had been facing two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action in the stabbings of Dana T. Townsend, 31, and Michael Johnson, 46, on July 27 at an apartment building on South Pearl Avenue.

Townsend testified at a preliminary hearing in September that she caught Scaife in the act of prying open a neighbor’s door downstairs from an apartment she shared with Johnson.

“He pulled it (a butcher knife) out from behind (him) and said: ‘Here we go,’” she told the court.

Townsend said at the hearing that Scaife had been to the address earlier the same day looking for a man who shared a downstairs apartment with a woman but was not home at the time. He returned.

She testified that when she first confronted him, he hit her, and they began scuffling. Johnson came to her assistance as Scaife pulled out the knife. The woman who lived in the downstairs apartment heard the commotion and opened the door at that point, and they all tumbled inside her apartment, where the defendant stabbed Townsend in the thigh and Johnson in his back and shoulder.

Scaife reportedly ran off when Johnson grabbed a toy knife at hand in the neighbor’s apartment and struck a defensive stance.



Loss of feeling

DANA TOWNSEND testified last year that she suffered a diminishment of feeling in the leg where she was stabbed with a butcher knife last summer.