Third defendant in motel robbery case waives hearing

May 16—A third defendant in a lure-and-rob incident at a Joplin motel nine months ago waived a preliminary hearing Thursday on the first-degree robbery charge that he is facing.

Carl L. Conner, 32, waived the hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court and was ordered bound over for trial by Judge Joseph Hensley.

Connor, who lists the Watered Gardens Ministry as his residence on police and court records, is accused of participating in a robbery set up Aug. 18 inside a room at the Super 7 motel on South Range Line Road in Joplin.

A probable-cause affidavit alleges that he conspired with Joshua J. Gauerke, 44, and Cassandra N. Jeffries, 31, to rob a man that Jeffries lured to the motel via the app Skip the Games. The victim testified at Gauerke's preliminary hearing Oct. 5 that he went to Jeffries' room at the motel and was robbed of about $1,800 by two men wearing face coverings who were hiding in the bathroom.

"They pulled a gun and told me to empty my pockets," he testified, adding that Jeffries got up and locked the door to the room to prevent his escape as he complied with their demand.

He happened to be carrying a gun himself in the back of his waistband and pulled it out and followed them out the door as they left. The man with the gun fired two shots in his direction, and he fired his own gun into the air, he told the court. No one was struck by the rounds, according to police.

Jeffries and Gauerke were identified and arrested shortly after the crime and have already had their cases adjudicated. Jeffries pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Gauerke pleaded guilty to a charge of felony stealing and also received a 10-year sentence.

Police did not identify, locate and arrest Conner until February of this year. With his waiver of the hearing Thursday, the court set his initial appearance in a trial division for June 26.

A probable-cause affidavit filed with the robbery charge on Conner states that the victim's money, which police recovered following the arrest of Gauerke, was to be split three ways among the three conspirators.