PINEVILLE, Mo. — Assault charges that a Noel man was facing from a shooting incident last year were dismissed when the victim failed to show up to testify against him Wednesday, but the defendant was ordered to stand trial instead on three felony counts related to a separate police pursuit.
Carl A. Buckner, 42, was scheduled for preliminary hearings in McDonald County Circuit Court on three separate cases, including the shooting of Matthew Middleton on July 22 at a residence on Hilltop Road.
Two of the cases were dismissed because of a lack of cooperation on the part of the alleged victims. But, following a preliminary hearing on the third case, Associate Judge John LePage ordered Buckner tried on counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, property damage and resisting arrest. Those charges stem from a Pineville marshal's pursuit of a vehicle the defendant was driving on Sept. 21.
Prosecutor Bill Dobbs said after the hearing that charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the beating and shooting of Middleton were being dismissed because of Middleton's unwillingness to testify against Buckner.
A probable-cause affidavit filed in that case states that Middleton told a sheriff's deputy who was called to Freeman Neosho Hospital the night he sought treatment there for a gunshot wound to his behind that he did not know who shot him. The sheriff's office received information a month later as to where the shooting had taken place and questioned Middleton a second time while he was in custody at the McDonald County Jail.
He told a sheriff's deputy at that time that Buckner and Joshua J. Ryan, 31, of Noel, had showed up at a house where Middleton was sleeping and started hitting him and demanding $1,000 that they said he owed them. The affidavit states that both assailants had guns and Buckner made Middleton put the end of his pistol in his mouth.
Middleton reported that the two men robbed him of his motorcycle and that when he tried to flee, Ryan shot him. Ryan remains charged with assault and armed criminal action in the case, according to court records.
The judge ordered Buckner to make his initial appearance in a trial division of the court March 5 with respect to the charges in the pursuit case.
Pineville marshal's Sgt. Christopher Pierce testified that he tried to pull over a vehicle the defendant was driving Sept. 21 for having expired tags and the vehicle sped off. A passenger bailed out early in the ensuing pursuit, which lasted about 20 to 30 minutes and ended when Buckner crashed his vehicle at the Neosho airport, Pierce said.
The officer testified that Buckner fled at speeds reaching over 100 mph and sideswiped his patrol car at one point. He said he saw Buckner when he was taken into custody following the crash and he appeared to the officer to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pierce said Buckner was sweating, shaking and had a look like he was just "not there."