The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 26, 2008

Kansas jail awaits acquitted defendant

By Jeff Lehr

A fugitive warrant was issued Wednesday to keep a Seneca man in custody in Missouri for transfer to Cherokee County, Kan., in the wake of his acquittal on charges in Newton County related to a string of home invasions three years ago.

A McDonald County jury found Marty W. Rickey, 33, innocent on four felony counts he was facing at a trial this week in Pineville. The trial involving two invasions of elderly Newton County residents’ homes was moved to McDonald County on a change of venue.

Rickey was accused of accompanying his brother, James D. Rickey, 37, and John B. Gaston, 25, both of Joplin, in forcing their way Nov. 19, 2005, into the home of Pauline Carter west of Neosho and robbing her of jewelry. He faced counts of burglary, robbery and felonious restraint with respect to that case.

He also was accused of participating in the invasion of Doris Sill’s home Nov. 26, 2005, on the south side of Joplin. He faced a single count of burglary in that case. Sill’s purse, cell phone, jewelry and coins were taken from her house while she was in her back yard.

Gaston and James Rickey were convicted of both home invasions in Newton County and were assessed prison sentences. But Marty Rickey’s case was complicated by the death last month of Carter at the age of 91.

Newton County Prosecutor Jake Skouby used Gaston as a state witness to Marty Rickey’s alleged involvement in both home invasions. But defense attorney William Fleischaker countered Gaston’s testimony with the introduction into evidence of a deposition from the defendant’s brother, James Rickey, denying any involvement of Marty Rickey. The deposition claims that Gaston was lying to protect a friend of his who was actually with them.

Jurors took the brother’s word over Gaston’s and cleared Marty Rickey on all four counts.

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Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

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