The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 10, 2013

Mistrial declared in Joplin drug trafficking case

JOPLIN, Mo. — A mistrial was declared Friday in the drug-trafficking case of a Joplin man when a juror disclosed that she knew a witness for the defense.

The disclosure came on the second day of Gary L. Mitchell’s trial in Jasper County Circuit Court and forced Circuit Judge David Dally to declare the mistrial.

During a recess, a juror informed the court that she was acquainted with a witness who was being called to testify on the defendant’s behalf, and that it would affect her ability to be fair and impartial. The disclosure prompted the prosecution to enter a motion for a mistrial, and the defendant indicated that he had no objection to a mistrial.

Mitchell, 38, was being tried on a charge of second-degree trafficking in drugs, a Class A felony that can carry from 10 to 30 years or up to life in prison. A 12-member jury was selected Thursday to hear the case without any alternates seated since the trial was not expected to take more than two days.

Attorneys delivered opening statements Thursday afternoon and the prosecution began presenting its case against Mitchell.

On Friday, defense attorney Daniel Viets let the judge know that his client had instructed him to enter a motion to withdraw as his counsel. The judge overruled the motion and ordered the trial to resume. But the juror’s disclosure brought proceedings to a halt following a subsequent recess.

The case against Mitchell concerns two packages of powder and rock cocaine and two bricks of marijuana found in a duffel bag on the floorboard in the back seat of a car stopped by Jasper County sheriff’s deputies on Nov. 14, 2009, on North Main Street in Joplin.

An off-duty deputy, Chad Karr, had spotted what he took to be a drug deal taking place in the parking lot of the old Quincy Magoo’s bar at Stone’s Corner on North Main. Karr testified that he saw another man get out of a Cadillac parked in the lot carrying a duffel bag and climb in the backseat of a second Cadillac that Karr recognized as belonging to Mitchell.

Karr said the other man got back out of Mitchell’s car a short time later without the bag, and Mitchell drove off down Main Street. Karr followed in his private vehicle while contacting an on-duty deputy and letting him know what he had observed. When Karr allegedly observed Mitchell make some lane changes without signaling, he had the other deputy stop the vehicle and the drugs were found with the assistance of a drug-sniffing dog.

MItchell told deputies that the bag belonged to the other man who had been in his car. He said the man was going to be staying at his place and as far as he knew, the bag contained his clothes. He denied knowing it held any drugs.  

“The bag was still sitting right where (the other man) left it,” his attorney told jurors during opening statements.

Viets maintained that $6,200 cash found on the defendant’s person during the vehicle stop and arrest should not be regarded as incriminating.

“There’s no evidence that money was related to drug-dealing in any way,” he said.


Circuit Judge David Dally has reset the drug-trafficking trial of Gary Mitchell for July 9.

Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter