A Carthage man pleaded guilty this week to a vehicle tampering charge in a plea agreement dismissing a second count of vehicle tampering as well as counts of forgery and failure to register as a sex offender.

Cory M.J. Burton, 29, pleaded guilty to the charge at a hearing Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court. His plea deal would cap the prison time he might receive at no more than six years.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea bargain and ordered a sentencing assessment of the defendant. The judge set Burton's sentencing hearing for Sept. 30.

A probable-cause affidavit states that Burton was found to be in possession of a 1991 Ford Ranger pickup truck in October of last year that was reported stolen from a car dealership in Carthage. The truck had been spray-painted black and had the license plates from another truck put on it.

At the time, Burton also had failed to update his registration with the Jasper County Sheriff's Department as a convicted sex offender to reflect a change in address, the same affidavit alleged. Burton has a misdemeanor conviction for sexual misconduct and is required to register with the sheriff's office in the county in which he resides.

The forgery count to be dismissed at his sentencing concerns a stolen check that he allegedly cashed on June 27, 2018, at Community Bank and Trust in Joplin. The check was written for $475 and made out to Burton, according to a second affidavit filed with the court.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.