The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 8, 2012

Sarcoxie baby’s mother facing endangerment charge

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Jasper County judge found probable cause Wednesday to order a Sarcoxie woman bound over for trial on a felony charge that she endangered the life of her baby.

Associate Judge Richard Copeland ordered Benita Devido, 26, to stand trial on a count of first-degree child endangerment after a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin. The judge set Devido’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Aug. 24.

The charge stems from an investigation prompted earlier this year by a call to the state’s child-abuse hot line. An investigator with the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services paid a visit March 9 to the home of Devido and her boyfriend, Larry Gates, to check on the welfare of their 3-month-old son.

Investigator Britnay Kirkland testified that she observed numerous marks on the baby, including cuts on his head, bruises on an ear, circular burns to his face and a forearm, and bite marks on an elbow and a knee. She said Devido told her that the burn mark on the baby’s face had been caused by an accidental spattering of grease during cooking.

The baby was taken to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin for evaluation, and the medical staff was of the opinion that the various marks were caused by abuse, according to a probable-cause affidavit. The child was removed from the home and placed in protective custody.

Kirkland testified at the hearing that she received a call the next day from Devido’s mother, who said Devido wanted to meet with her to tell her the truth.

During that meeting, Kirkland said, Devido told her that Gates, who was the primary care provider to the baby while she was at work, had been abusing their son, and that the burn mark on his face had been inflicted by Gates with a crack pipe. The investigator said Devido went on to allege that Gates had been abusive toward her as well as the child, coming at her with various weapons and threatening to kill her, the baby and her whole family.

Kirkland told the court that both parents acknowledged in subsequent meetings with caseworkers that they had used methamphetamine in the presence of the baby and had become so “strung out” on the drug that they would pass out for hours on end.

Public defender Frank Yankoviz asked Kirkland if she recalled Devido telling her that the only time she ever used meth was when Gates put a knife to her throat. Kirkland said she did not recall the defendant ever telling her that. The state investigator did acknowledge on cross-examination by Yankoviz that the only urine test of the defendant of which she was aware came back negative for drug use.

Gates, 34, who was charged with child abuse, pleaded guilty July 30 to a reduced count of felony child endangerment in a plea deal limiting the prison time he might be assessed to no more than four years. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter