By Jeff Lehr
A judge granted a 23-year-old woman a suspended sentence Friday for her role in the snatching of a purse from an elderly woman outside Northpark Mall in Joplin, but ordered that she serve seven days of shock time in jail.
Judge David Mouton in Jasper County Circuit Court assessed Kayla M. Madison, of rural Seneca, seven years in prison on a conviction for second-degree assault, but suspended execution of the sentence and placed the defendant on probation for five years.
The judge cited the outcome of a co-defendant’s case in another judge’s courtroom as a factor in his decision to grant Madison a suspended sentence with shock time in jail.
Circuit Judge Gayle Crane had granted Jessica M. Oliver, 20, of Neosho, a suspended term with four days of shock time at a hearing in September on a conviction for the same offense. Mouton said he felt Crane was “merciful” in granting a suspended sentence instead of assessing a prison term given the facts of the case. He said he felt compelled to some extent to maintain some consistency in the two judges’ handling of the cases.
Both women originally were charged with first-degree robbery in the stealing of the purse of 72-year-old Mary Pintar on Dec. 18, 2011, in the parking lot of the mall at 101 N. Range Line Road. Probable-cause affidavits filed in their cases state that Oliver grabbed the purse from Pintar, causing her to fall and break a finger, and injure her back, neck and thumb.
Oliver fled to a vehicle that Madison was driving, according to the affidavits. When a second victim, Heather Graves, tried to come to Pintar’s aid, she became caught on the door of the fleeing car and was dragged a short distance across the lot. Police stopped and arrested the two suspects minutes later.
Public defender Frank Yankoviz told the judge at Madison’s sentencing hearing that his client was not aware that Oliver intended to rob someone when she gave her a ride to the mall.
“It wasn’t like it was a planned thing, at least not by my client,” Yankoviz said.
Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Fisher took issue with that assessment, pointing out that Madison had told police that she did know Oliver was going to rob someone.
The defendant asked the judge if she might serve the jail time after the coming week since she had a job lined up that she would lose if taken immediately to jail. The judge granted the request, ordering that she begin serving the time on March 30.