The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 8, 2014

Suspects to stand trial in kidnapping scheme

JOPLIN, Mo. — Two Joplin men were ordered bound over for trial Wednesday on charges stemming from an alleged hired attempt to snatch a woman’s daughter for her from the custody of the child’s father at gunpoint.

Ron N. King, 21, waived a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court and was ordered by Associate Judge Richard Copeland to stand trial on single counts of attempted kidnapping and burglary, two counts of first-degree assault, and four counts of armed criminal action. The judge ordered Tayvon D. Smith, 22, bound over for trial on the same charges after a preliminary hearing.

Christopher “Chad” Hamilton, 38, testified at Smith’s hearing that he was watching a movie with his 1-year-old daughter in a bedroom of their home on West Fifth Street the night of Oct. 19 when he heard a noise. He at first thought it might be his roommate.

He stuck his head out the door of the room and inquired: “Mike?”

“Yeah. It’s Mike. Come here,” a voice replied.

Hamilton said he knew instantly what was up, and he shouted back, “Hell, no,” and slammed the bedroom door shut. He retrieved his gun. He figured it was someone his daughter’s mother had recruited. The girl’s mother, Elise D. Deboutez, 27, of Nevada, is accused of having done just that. Charged with burglary and armed criminal action, she has yet to have a preliminary hearing.

“I’d heard from two different sources that she was trying to find someone to kill me because she wanted (the girl) back,” Hamilton testified.

He said he called 911 and heard two shots fired. Later, once the intruder, or intruders, had fled and police had arrived, he noticed that the door to the house from the garage had been kicked in and that his front door had been left standing open, the apparent route taken by whoever had fled.

Hamilton could provide no description of suspects. An employee of Hiland Dairy who saw two men running south from the general direction of Hamilton’s home on the night in question could not make any positive identification of the defendant.

Detective Darren McIntosh of the Joplin Police Department, who later interviewed Smith, said the defendant claimed to have been at his home at 610 E. Markwardt St. at the time of the shooting.

But a supervising probation officer told the court that Smith was on probation at the time for a previous conviction and was wearing an electronic ankle monitor that showed he had been several places other than his residence that night, including the vicinity of Fifth Street and Maiden Lane at the time of the shooting.

Theresa Kenney, assistant prosecutor, subpoenaed the defendant’s girlfriend to testify that Smith told her that night that he and King had been hired by a woman to get her daughter back, and that they had been involved in a shooting at the home of the girl’s father. She said he told her that he thought the man had shot at them and that he had fired back.

The girlfriend acknowledged under cross-examination by public defender Larry Maples that she had been drinking heavily, had taken some Xanax pills and was smoking marijuana the night in question.

Police Detective Chad Comer told the court that a shell casing from a semi-automatic handgun was found on the floor of the kitchen and dining area of Hamilton’s home, and that two bullets were recovered from closets in the bedroom where he and his daughter had been. One of the bullets had passed through a wall of the bedroom and into a closet. The other bullet apparently had passed through the doorway directly into the bedroom and its other closet, he said.

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