Probation granted in two felony weapon cases

Apr. 22—Two defendants took plea offers Monday in separate felony weapon cases before Judge Dean Dankelson in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Michael G. Elliot, 21, of Carthage, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon in a deal allowing the possibility of a suspended imposition of sentence, which the judge granted on condition the defendant submit to a local court treatment program.

Elliot pointed a handgun in the direction of a woman Oct. 22, 2022, at the Taco Bell of Grand Avenue in Carthage. According to a probable-cause affidavit, he had been arguing with her at the time about a person of interest to police in a prior discharging of a gun at the woman's residence.

The woman told police that Elliot was given the gun by a male passenger in the vehicle he was driving. That vehicle was stopped by police the next day and a pistol believed to have been the one displayed at the Taco Bell was seized.

The affidavit states that Elliot had been contacted by law enforcement seven times over the preceding year regarding calls involving a firearm.

In a separate weapon case, Samuel L. Hayes, 47, of Joplin, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in a plea agreement limiting the sentence he might receive to four years and promising that the state would not oppose the possibility of probation. Judge Dankelson accepted the plea deal and granted Hayes a four-year suspended sentence with five years of supervised probation.

The conviction pertains to a vehicle stop and arrest Jan. 26, 2022, in Joplin. The officer who stopped the vehicle Hayes was driving purportedly could smell marijuana coming from its interior and spotted a container of pot in plain view. A search of the vehicle turned up a pistol in the trunk.

The affidavit states that the defendant is prohibited from possession of firearms due to three prior felony convictions.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.