A Joplin father has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in a felony child endangerment case and put on probation.
Philip R. Body Jr., 32, pleaded guilty Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court to three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment in a plea deal dismissing related counts of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon. Body had been facing three felony counts of endangerment in addition to the other two offenses.
Associate Court Judge Joe Hensley accepted the plea bargain and assessed Body six months in jail with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on unsupervised probation for two years. He also is required to complete substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment.
The defendant and his wife, Mary Body, were arrested on endangerment charges July 12 after police officers responding to a report of a domestic disturbance learned that they and their three children had been living in a garage on South Murphy Avenue for two months.
According to a probable-cause affidavit, five dogs were living in the garage with them, and the floor was littered with dog feces and garbage. There was no running water, and a 5-gallon bucket was being used as a toilet. The only piece of furniture in the garage was a couch, according to the affidavit.
Police also allegedly found some methamphetamine and a handgun in the defendant's pickup truck.
Mary Body pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of endangerment in April and received suspended 60-day jail terms with two years of unsupervised probation. Both parents are required to comply with the efforts of the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services to assist the family.