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Neosho man pleads down to misdemeanor in felony domestic assault case

Mar. 6—NEOSHO, Mo. — A homeless man accused of setting his wife's hair on fire took a plea offer this week placing him on probation on the condition he undergo screenings for anger management and substance abuse.

Allen B. Canuti, 64, pleaded guilty in Newton County Circuit Court to a reduced charge of misdemeanor domestic assault in a plea deal dismissing a related misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and calling for a suspended sentence.

The defendant had been facing a charge of first-degree domestic assault for setting his wife's hair on fire Jan. 20 in Neosho. A probable-cause affidavit states that she was left with singed hair and resulting pain in her scalp.

An officer responding to the incident purportedly found Canuti in the driver's seat of his vehicle with the engine running and a quarter-full bottle of vodka on the passenger-side floorboard of the front seat. The document alleged that a strong odor of intoxicants was emanating from the defendant.

Circuit Judge Jacob Skouby accepted the plea bargain and assessed Canuti one year in jail with execution of the sentence suspended and the defendant placed on unsupervised probation for two years. The judge granted the probation on condition that the defendant undergo screenings for substance abuse and anger management and any recommended treatments and complete the local Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program.