The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

September 14, 2012

Two sentenced in Pittsburg home-invasion case

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Two defendants in a Pittsburg home-invasion case met different fates this week when a judge sent one to prison but granted probation to the other.

Chief Judge John Gariglietti assessed Stephen J. Dibble, 25, of Pittsburg, six years in prison at a hearing Wednesday in Crawford County District Court. The following day the judge assessed Mitchell E. Owens, 19, of Kansas City, 34 months in prison but suspended imposition of the term, and placed him on probation for three years.

Both defendants pleaded guilty recently to aggravated burglary in connection with what police have described as a home-invasion assault and robbery April 28 at 1122 S. Elm St. in Pittsburg.

Three men are believed to have entered the home of 19-year-old John R. Carver, assaulted him and stole an Xbox video game system. The crime led to a nonfatal shooting of Owens in the hip with a .22-caliber rifle by a friend of the victim as the suspects were leaving.

Crawford County District Attorney Michael Gayoso charged Kyle S. Taggart, 27, of Pittsburg, with first-degree attempted murder in the shooting of Owens, which Gayoso says was not an act of self-defense and was not justified. Taggart has a preliminary hearing scheduled Monday morning in Girard.

The prosecutor agreed to drop charges of aggravated robbery and misdemeanor battery that Dibble and Owens were facing in exchange for their guilty pleas.

Dibble also pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a firearm from a separate incident Dec. 15. He also admitted violating probation received on a prior burglary conviction and had that probation revoked.

Gayoso said the state sought a prison term for Owens as well as Dibble. The judge determined that Owens’ lack of a criminal history, relative youth and cooperation with law enforcement were mitigating factors and granted probation.

The case of the third suspect in the home invasion, Artis T.E. Rollins III, 25, of Pittsburg, remains pending. Rollins is charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, but is not facing any battery or assault charge.


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