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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Trial set in death of toddler, 1

  • A Joplin man accused of causing the death of his girlfriend's year old daughter will go to trial in April.
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  • PINEVILLE — A Joplin man accused of causing the death of his girlfriend's year old daughter will go to trial in April.
    Trial for Bryant Sykes, 25, has been set for April 22-24 in the McDonald County Division I Courtroom. Newton County Division III Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Lee Selby will preside.
    On July 31, Newton County EMTs and deputies were dispatched to the Bykota Mobile Home Park in reference to a cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, they found a 1-year-old girl not breathing. Crews were able to revive her, and she was ultimately flown to Kansas City's Children's Hospital with internal bleeding and severe head injuries. The girl died a few days later, and her mother, Gina Salazar, was charged with first-degree child endangerment, a Class C felony count, and hindering the prosecution of a felony, a Class D felony charge. A disposition hearing is set for March 18 in Judge Timothy Perigo's Newton County Division I Circuit Courtroom.
    Sykes will be back in court March 15 for a pre-trial conference. Selby will preside in McDonald County.
    • • •
    A teen charged in the death of his mother's boyfriend following a fight in late November will be back in court.
    Justin Lee Bates, 17, of Sulphur Springs, Ark., will be back in court on March 4 for a pre-trial conference, to be held in McDonald County Associate Circuit Court Judge John LePage's courtroom.
    Bates has been charged with the death of Mark Leroy Pettry, 47, of Noel. According to the probable cause statement, written by McDonald County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Barrett, Bates entered Pettry's residence around 6:10 p.m. Monday evening.
    The altercation allegedly began when Bates showed up at the residence to pick up his younger sibling.
    According to the statement, Bates struck Pettry in the face with his right fist, allegedly causing Pettry's death.
    "The victim was struck in the face and possibly kicked, both in the face and torso by the suspect, fell to the ground after the assault and did not recover," the statement reads.
    Attempts by Freeman Paramedics to revive Pettry were unsuccessful.
    Following the altercation, Bates returned to the scene, at Barrett's request and allegedly confessed to the fight. However, he later pled not guilty to a felony charge of first-degree assault.
    • • •
    A retired state trooper who faces child sexual abuse charges will be back in court next Wednesday.
    James D. Hall, 70, of Neosho is slated to be back in court Feb. 6 for a motion hearing. His attorney, C. Ross Rhoades, filed a motion for an extension of time on Tuesday.
    Hall, who served Newton County for more than 30 years as a member of Troop D of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, faces charges of child molestation and third-degree assault stemming from accusations made by two minors, both girls under the age of 13.
    Page 2 of 2 - Though the Newton County Sheriff's Department performed the initial investigation, those findings have been turned over to the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, due to Hall's previous professional relationship with the Newton County prosecutor's office.
    According to a probable cause affidavit, written by Jared Roderick of the Public Safety Division of the Missouri Attorney General's Office, the most recent alleged incidents occurred in February 2012.
    Hall is charged with a Class B felony for first-degree child molestation, stemming from alleged repeated incidents when Hall allegedly inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl's buttocks and genitals through her clothing while she was visiting his home.
    A probable cause affidavit states Hall allegedly touched another 11-year-old girl's top and inner thighs during a church Bible study.
    An arraignment is set for Feb. 13 in the Newton County Division I Circuit Courtroom. Special Judge Charles Dennis Curless will preside.

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