Suspect in Joplin shooting, kidnapping granted probation | News

A 22-year-old man arrested in connection with separate shooting and kidnapping cases the night of Dec. 3-4 has been granted probation on the four counts to which he ultimately pleaded guilty.

Benjamin E. Bartlett was accused of firing a shotgun twice into a camper in the 5300 block of West 20th Street that was occupied at the time by Phillip Helton and Robert Johnson. While the first shot struck the side of the camper, the second passed through a window and ripped off a portion of one of Helton’s ears.

About six hours later, he became nervous when he spotted police in the 800 block of Sergeant Avenue and accused a man in the back seat of the car he was driving of having called police on him about the shooting.

A probable-cause affidavit filed with the charges against him stated that he threatened the man with the shotgun, took his phone from him and refused to let him out of the vehicle.

The defendant subsequently found himself in a police pursuit of his vehicle during which he led officers through the city at speeds reaching up to 90 mph before he finally stopped in an alley and was caught trying to run away, according to Joplin police.

He initially was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and a single count of armed criminal action in connection with the shots fired at the camper, and with kidnapping, resisting arrest and armed criminal action in the abduction and pursuit.

The charges from the shooting were dismissed March 7 due to the inability of the Jasper County prosecutor’s office to locate Helton and Johnson to secure their testimony against the defendant at a preliminary hearing.

Bartlett, who had been facing counts of counts of delivery of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated from a prior arrest in 2021, then pleaded guilty March 21 to counts…


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