A purported member of the Joplin Honkies who was charged last month in the dumping of the body of a fellow member has now been charged in the shooting of yet another member of the gang that authorities say has white supremacist leanings.
Jared Prier, 28, of rural Joplin, has been charged in Newton County Circuit Court with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the shooting of Thomas “Tommy” Webb, 44, of Joplin, twice in the stomach on the night of Aug. 17 at a home on Cherry Road. He also is charged with second-degree assault and armed criminal action in having fired a shot that injured a woman named Jennifer Miller the same night at the same location.
Prier, along with 24-year-old Chelsie Berry, of Carl Junction, was arrested and charged with abandonment of a corpse last month when the body of Dennis “Nathan” Meyer was discovered Aug. 22 in the driveway of a home off of Route V in northern Newton County. Meyer is believed to have died of an apparent drug overdose while partying with Berry and Prier.
Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland has said that Prier, Webb, Meyer and Berry were associated through the Honkies gang.
According to a probable cause statement filed in support of the assault charges, Miller told authorities she was partying with Prier, Webb and two other people the night of the shooting at a home in the 3600 block of Cherry Road in Newton County.
Miller said she was sitting on a couch next to Webb when she heard a loud “bang” and saw Prier pointing a gun in the direction of where she and Webb were sitting, according to the statement.
“Jennifer stated that Jared nearly shot her in the head and had actually nicked her right hand with a bullet causing it to bleed a lot,” the statement reads.
Webb jumped up and ran around a table, the statement said, and Prier approached Webb and shot him twice in the stomach.
Miller ran to another residence in the area, coming back later with a neighbor. She ultimately told authorities that while she was gone, Webb fled to the vehicle he had driven to the house and drove to another nearby home and summoned help by honking the horn of his vehicle.
Newton County deputies later responded to the 3500 block of Cherry Road after being called in connection with the horn-honking commotion. Webb was taken by ambulance to Freeman Hospital West, where he underwent surgery and remained in recovery for several days.
When Miller and the neighbor returned to the scene of shooting, they met Prier in the driveway, according to the court document. Miller said Prier was asked why he began shooting, and Prier said because Webb was a “rat.”
Miller told authorities that Meyer then showed up at the residence “ready to party,” not knowing that the shooting had just happened, the statement said. When Miller told Meyer what happened, Meyer gave Prier a ride away from the home.
When a detective later located Prier and asked what happened, Prier said he wasn’t present at the Cherry Road address that night, but believed that Meyer had shot Webb.
A detective talked to Webb and asked who had shot him. Webb initially was uncooperative and gave multiple versions of how he had been wounded. He ultimately said he did not want to be known as a “rat,” but if authorities “looked into the Prier situation” they would find the shooter.
After Meyer’s body was found on Aug. 22, authorities have said, it was learned that two people had posted photographs of themselves with what appeared to be Meyer’s corpse. Copeland said that deputies identified the two as Prier and Berry, arrested them and sought the charges of abandoning a corpse.
Court documents say that Berry told investigators that she and Meyer were partying late the night of Aug. 21 when Meyer injected himself with a morphine derivative and began acting “crazy.” She said she was so concerned that she called his friend, Prier, who then joined them in their vehicle.
Berry told deputies that Meyer soon passed out, and that they later noticed that he had stopped breathing, according to an affidavit. She said that she and Prier were afraid to call an ambulance because they were high on methamphetamine and Xanax and thought they would get in trouble.
After driving around for some time, Prier noticed a long driveway off of Route V and dumped the body, but not before posing for photographs with it, according to court records. Asked what might have been the motivation for the photos, Copeland said he had no idea, other than that they were high on drugs.
Results of toxicology tests on Dennis Meyer’s body are still out, and authorities say they could prompt the filing of additional charges in connection with Meyer’s death.