A reputed member of the Joplin Honkies prison gang took a plea deal Friday in a Webb City stabbing case and on other felony charges he was facing in Jasper County.
He received three concurrent prison terms.
William A. Eads, 31, entered an Alford plea in Jasper County Circuit Court to a count of second-degree burglary. An Alford plea admits no guilt but acknowledges the likelihood of a conviction if the matter were to proceed to trial.
Eads entered the plea as part of a deal with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that dropped additional counts of second-degree assault and armed criminal action that he was facing from a burglary Sept. 29, 2010, at a residence in Webb City. A probable-cause affidavit alleged that Eads stabbed Ryan Tandy with a pocketknife when caught in the act of breaking into Tandy’s garage.
As part of the agreement, Eads pleaded guilty to two other counts he was facing for possession of a controlled substance in 2009 and for resisting arrest in 2010. He waived his right to a sentencing-assessment report.
Circuit Judge David Mouton accepted the plea deal and assessed the defendant seven years on both the burglary and drug convictions, and four years for resisting arrest. The judge ordered that all three terms run concurrent with each other and with prison sentences the defendant received in June on crimes committed in Newton County.
Eads pleaded guilty June 11 in Newton County to second-degree assault and armed-criminal action with respect to a shooting on Oct. 15, 2010, in Neosho. He was assessed concurrent terms of seven years and five years on those convictions.
In that case, Eads shot Jordan Newman in the arm during a barbecue at Newman’s home on Wood Street in Neosho. Newman testified at a preliminary hearing in December 2010 that he was not previously acquainted with Eads, who showed up at the barbecue and got into an argument with his girlfriend.
Newman said he told Eads and the girlfriend to take their argument outside. He said he walked outside himself at that point. Newman said that when he went back inside, Eads had the woman in a headlock and was waving a gun around.
When he told Eads to drop the gun, the defendant shot him in the arm from a distance of about three feet, Newman testified. The shot shattered a bone in his forearm.
The Honkies are a loosely knit gang of inmates and ex-convicts with origins in Missouri’s prison system.