12 plead guilty in circuit courts in Barry, Lawrence counties

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Warrants issued in 2 cases for failure to appear

In the past several months, 10 people have pleaded guilty to felony crimes in circuit courts in Barry and Lawrence counties.

The courts also accepted one Alford plea, issued warrants for two people who failed to appear and dropped four cases.

Those who pleaded guilty to felonies include:

• Buck Nelson, of Exeter, pleaded guilty to first-degree sodomy. He was sentenced to 20 years in the Department of Corrections. Nelson admitted to the mother of a victim less than 12 years of age that he had committed sexual acts with the minor.

• Justin Schuchmann, of Purdy, pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to 10 years in the Department of Corrections. Schuchmann was arrested in August 2017 after signing a form in April 2017 with an address on Farm Road 1263 in Shell Knob. In July, law enforcement was informed by a tenant that Schuchmann had not lived at that residence since November 2010. Schuchmann was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under 10 years old in Springfield, Ill., on Nov. 5, 2011. In April 2006, he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Sangamon County, Ill., and in September 2009, he was convicted of failing to report a change of address in the same county.

• Zachary Whitely, of Purdy, pleaded guilty to second-degree child molestation. He was sentenced to 8 years in the Department of Corrections. Whitely turned himself in and confessed to molesting a child under the age of 16.

• Everett Davis, of Exeter, was charged in connection to a drug sting by the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team and Barry County Sheriff’s Office in May. The arrest violated his probation for a 2017 guilty plea to two charges of possession of a controlled substance. His probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to 7 years in the Department of Corrections.

• Matthew Peetz, of Monett, pleaded guilty to second-degree statutory sodomy and first-degree possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 5 years in the Department of Corrections. Text messages between Peetz and a minor less than 15 years of age showed Peetz was enticing the victim to engage in sexual acts, and sex-related interactions had occurred between Peetz and the victim. Peetz denied the contact, but was found with pornographic photos of the victim on his cell phone.

• Timothy Pope, of Branson, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and felony stealing. He was sentenced to 4 years in the Department of Corrections. A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia charge was dropped. Pope entered an apartment on Glenda Street in Exeter and stole $1,020 worth of electronics. He was arrested in his apartment on the same street and found with two syringes testing positive for methamphetamine.

• James Harp, of Berryville, Ark., pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 5 years of supervised probation. A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia charge was dropped. Harp fled from Barry County deputies into Arkansas before pulling over. Methamphetamine was found in the vehicle, along with a glass pipe. Another pipe was thrown from the vehicle by a passenger during the chase.

• Evan Mareth, of Monett, pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of a controlled substance, felony stealing and stealing a firearm. He was sentenced to 5 years of supervised probation. Mareth stole cash, a gun and medication, totaling $12,000 in value, from a relative’s home. Barry County deputies executed a search warrant at Mareth’s home, recovering cash, medications, drug paraphernalia and cocaine.

• Jeanelle Hopkins, of Aurora, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. She was sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation. Hopkins was originally charged with two counts of possession when she was caught with three pills, tizanidine, zolpidem and oxycodone, after being pulled over for driving erratically and speeding in the city of Cassville.

• Paul Ortiz, of Seligman, was originally charged with five felonies and pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors: no insurance, failure to register a motor vehicle and careless and imprudent driving. He was fined $191.50. In January, Ortiz was charged for allegedly running his vehicle into another that contained four children. The incident occurred in a gas station parking lot. The victim went to the Seligman Police Station, but with no one there, began traveling on Highway 37, where Ortiz allegedly attempted to run the vehicle off the roadway several times, according to a Barry County deputy’s account. Ortiz admitted to being under the influence of hydrocodone and said he was attempting to stop the victim from driving.

• Brittany Henry, of Rogers, Ark., pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. She was sentenced to three years of supervised probation. Henry attempted to sell methamphetamine to an undercover informant in the Cassville area. She was originally charged with delivery of a controlled substance.

One defendant in Barry County Circuit Court took an Alford plea. Carlos Rueda, of Monett, took an Alford plea for first-degree assault. A sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of Judge Jack Goodman in Lawrence County. Rueada originally faced charges of first-degree attempted sexual abuse, resisting arrest and misdemeanor first-degree sexual misconduct after allegedly accosting a victim outside a laundromat in Monett. Rueda was allegedly got out of his vehicle naked and asked a woman in another vehicle to see her privates. In an interview, he said he had consumed alcohol and wanted sex, but he did something stupid and guessed he scared the girl. An Alford plea is when a defendant asserts innocence but admits the evidence presented by the prosecution would likely result in a guilty verdict.

Two people have warrants out for their arrest for failure to appear. They include:

• Joseph Snow, of Winslow, Ark., had a warrant for his arrest issued in May. He is charged with second-degree statutory rape and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Snow allegedly took a victim under the age of 16 from Missouri to Arkansas. Per the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas, a suicide note was found in the victim’s residence, which contained Romeo and Juliet comments, and when Snow and the victim were located, a gun, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were in Snow’s possession. Snow allegedly admitted to sexual contact with the victim.

• Sven Hagen, of Carthage, had a warrant for his arrest issued in July. He is charged with felony stealing. Hagen allegedly stole from Walmart multiple times, taking items valuing $9,714 in total. He has two separate cases for thefts at Cassville and Monett Walmarts. Items stolen from the Monett Walmart totaled $1,645 in value.

Six cases have been dropped, as they are removed from the CaseNet court case search system. They include:

• Travis Dixon, of Bella Vista, Ark., was charged with stealing and resisting arrest after he allegedly stole a cell phone and debit card from a shower house at Roaring River State Park and fled on foot from authorities after an arrest attempt a couple weeks later.

• David Grippando, of Stella, was charged with first-degree assault following his alleged fleeing from the Exeter Police Department, a chase where multiple vehicles were damaged.

• Timothy Chester, of Purdy, was charged with second-degree domestic assault and unlawful use of a weapon after allegedly striking a victim and brandishing a knife at the victim during a domestic dispute.

• Matthew Hickman, of Purdy, was charged with second-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action after allegedly arming himself with a four-foot sword during a domestic incident. Hickman also allegedly strangled the victim to the point the victim passed out.

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