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2 of 9 sentenced in 2020 Lawrence County murder

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. – The first 2 of 9 suspects in a Lawrence County murder learn their fate.

In 2020, authorities say 9 people played a role in the shooting death of Sarah C. Pasco, 27, of Aurora, Missouri. They were also involved in the non-fatal shooting of another woman. She told deputies her friend had been killed. Authorities did not identify the surviving victim.

Gary Hunter, Jr., 23, and Diona Parks, 26, both took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty. A judge gave Hunter 40 years in prison and Parks 30 years.

2020 Lawrence County Murder

On August 16, at around 10:14 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about shots fired. Deputies arrived at the location and found a woman shot multiple times. Emergency personnel airlifted her critical condition. She later was able to speak with detectives at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.

(Previous Story: Authorities investigate double shooting homicide in Lawrence County)

Deputies say the woman told them her friend had been killed at another location in Lawrence County. After a search, they found Pasco’s body.

The surviving victim and some of the suspects have spoken to investigators about the crime.

Prosecutors say the suspects kidnapped Pasco and a second female victim, forced them to dig their own grave, and then shot them. The suspects then left them for dead.

The surviving victim says she was hiding under Pasco while one suspect was firing into the well, according to court documents. She says she was shot while inside the well and played dead until they left. She also told a detective that while at the well, she remembered seeing Dunham with Pasco’s sunglasses on her head.

You can read more details from court documents here: 9 arrested as documents detail a Lawrence County murder

Suspects

By Aug. 20, 2020, all 9 suspects were in custody. Prosecutors filed the following charges.

  • Gary W. Hunter, Jr., 23, Mt. Vernon – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Steven C. Calverley. 29, Republic – Requested charges of Murder 1st Degree, 1st Degree Assault,  Tampering with Evidence
  • Lyle B. Delong – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Andrew J. Cypret – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Diona L. Parks – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Frank J. Sheridan, 27, Aurora – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Kimberly K. Henderson, 47, Stotts City – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Siera Dunham – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree
  • Christina Knapp – Murder 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Assault 1st Degree

(Previous Story: Two more suspects arrested in Lawrence County murder)

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News to Know: redistricting plans in Kansas and Missouri, Kansas Day education

TOPEKA, Kan. – Top Republicans have pushed their congressional redistricting plan through the GOP-dominated Kansas legislature without much trouble. An expected court battle looms after Wednesday’s legislative action over whether the proposed map goes too far in hurting the state’s only Democrat in congress. The house’s 79-37 vote sends Democratic Governor Laura Kelly a bill that would split the Kansas City area into two congressional districts and move the liberal northeast Kansas city of Lawrence into a district with central and western Kansas. The senate approved the measure last week.

JEFFERSON, Mo. – Republicans in the Missouri Senate are fighting over how to divvy up the state’s eight congressional districts. Senators on Wednesday worked behind closed doors to compromise on new district lines. A plan backed by GOP leaders is projected to continue current political divide of six Republican and two Democratic representatives. But some Republicans want to split the democratic stronghold of Kansas City among multiple districts to give Republicans a shot at winning seven seats.

GALENA, Kan. – Kids at the Galena, Kansas public library on Wednesday learned about the Sunflower State. The library hosted a storytime event centered around Kansas Day, a holiday recognizing when the state became the 34th state back in 1861. Organizers say with Kansas day coming up, it was the perfect time for a history lesson. Kansas Day was first celebrated in 1877 by schoolchildren in Paola.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Being involved in student organizations is a big part of the college experience for many people, but some organizations may not be well known. Missouri Southern wanted to make sure students know what’s available, so they hosted campus involvement day. It was a chance for students to speak with representatives of the organizations, get information, and enter giveaways. The event was in the Billingsly Student Center.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: Do you play a musical instrument? Let us know which one… if you do. Or maybe an instrument you’d like to pick up and try? Join our KOAM Facebook discussion and cast your vote @ koamnewsnow.com/vote.

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$200,000 Mustang stolen in Tulsa, one arrested, car still missing

TULSA, Okla. — A development to a story we covered on January 7 regarding a rare 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500 that was stolen right off downtown in Tulsa. One man has been arrested.

But the Mustang has not been located.

According to the Tulsa Police Dept the car has an estimated value of $200,000.

In the past few weeks, we’ve received dozens of tips from people in Tulsa about the car and potential suspects.

Auto Theft Detectives identified 20-year-old Nicholas Chamberlin as one of the suspects, and he was arrested on Tuesday.” — TULSA PD

TPD state the investigation is far from over.

Detectives anticipate making more arrests in the near future.

  • Chamberlin has been charged:
  • Larceny of an Automobile
  • 2nd Degree Burglary

Anyone with information about the car or the crimes is asked to call Tulsa Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS. You can remain anonymous when calling.

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Annual “Point-in-Time Count” aims to address needs of homeless population

JOPLIN, Mo.–The cold temperatures didn’t stop Tammy Walker and others at economic security from participating in this year’s “point-in-time” count.

“We do our point in time count where we go out and try to find people living unsheltered, living outside to get information from them and try to provide resources.”

Walker says they do this in two ways, a survey for area shelters, and teams locating and speaking with those experiencing homelessness.

“The shelter count. A survey will go to the local emergency shelters and transitional housing programs that house people on the night of the 26th. So that’s a separate survey, and then we have seven teams that we have divided up into to cover Jasper and Newton County to find people that are living outside unsheltered.”

Walker led one of those teams and would drive to areas that many experiencing homelessness usually populates. Once they arrive, the team speaks with them and tries to understand the best ways to help.

“We’ll go out and we’ll ask if we can ask them some questions. we use that information locally for planning to help leverage, you know, local funding, private state and federal funding for programs that can help house people. and then just, you know, the biggest reason is to go out and connect with people, connect with the people, find out what their needs are, find out what programs they might be interested in, and give them information.”

Walker says many living out on the streets are unaware of the many services offered to them, the point in time count aims to fix that.

“Sometimes it just takes multiple times going out and talking to someone overtime for them to be comfortable enough to maybe engage in services.”

Meaning they’re making an impact before collecting all of their data.

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Counselor aims to connect students with growth opportunities

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – McDonald County High School seeks to connect students with growth opportunities.

Joseph Beachneris will fill a new role as the career and college counselor for the high school. His main focus will be to connect students with career opportunities in the area.

Beachner says he plans to begin reaching out to businesses in McDonald County to see what areas of work need help.

The school believed this will be a timely story as the job market continues to be a challenge for area employers. Beacher will be able to address some of those challenges and address how they can be fixed.

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Missouri Southern hosts Campus Involvement Day

Joplin, MO – Missouri Southern State University students had the opportunity to learn about a variety of student organizations available during Campus Involvement Day.

The university held Campus Involvement Day from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today.

The event took place in Billingsly Student Center and featured representatives from different school organizations.

The following campus clubs and organizations attended the event:

  • Campus Activities Board
  • Catholics on Campus
  • Environmental Health and Safety Club
  • Lambda Pi Eta
  • Southern Clay
  • Women in Science
  • Koinonia Christian Campus Ministry
  • Lion Co-op
  • ACTS
  • Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • Kappa Alpha Order
  • Zeta Tau Alpha
  • Kappa Sigma
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Paschal to host hiring event in Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Paschal Air, Plumbing and Electric is looking to fill several careers.

On Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, they’re hosting a hiring event for their install department. You can attend the event at the Carthage location at 2305 Missouri Avenue.

The hiring event will run from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

What are they looking for?  Paschal is inviting experienced HVAC installers, plumbers and electricians to come to apply. They’re also introducing an apprentice training program to the market.

The company has a 4 day work week for technicians and installers.

You can learn more and apply here.

Related:

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New Braum’s in Joplin is hiring

JOPLIN, Mo. — The new Braum’s has been years in the making at 26th and S Main. You know it’s getting close as we caught them installing landscaping at the new Braum’s Market, 2502 S Main.

Store #304 is anticipated opening in the next six weeks and now they are looking for a staff and management.

  • OPEN INTERVIEWS:
  • January 28 and 29 (Thursday and Friday)
  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • 2410 S Rangeline

They ask that you apply online by clicking here and then drop in during one of their interview times. 

This new store is expanded compared to Rangeline locations, not only carrying a full food menu and ice cream, but also a Grocery and Fresh Market. 

The store is anticipated to open in March.

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Free tax service opens in Joplin

KSNF — If you don’t feel comfortable with doing your own taxes, and you don’t want to break the bank paying someone to do them for you, a newly opened tax service might be ideal for you.

Many people dread tax season, but not Sherry Fisher. She knows who will do them for her and how much it will cost.

“Is this the first time you’ve come here?” asked KSN’s Stuart Price.

“No, I’ve been coming here every year,” answered Sherry Fisher, Repeat Customer.

“For?”

“For about five years,” said Fisher.

“Here” is the VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, office in Joplin.

“I love the service here. It’s quick, easy, and you don’t have to pay, so it’s free. You may have to wait a while but it’s worth it,” said Fisher.

David Torres is the site coordinator and explains who is eligible for the free tax service.

“We are a community based organization that provides free tax service mostly for seniors and people with incomes of $60,000 and under,” said Torres.

Because of the coronavirus, last year’s service was a drive through and drop off, but not this year.

“This year we’ll be doing a limited in-person site, so you actually will check in downstairs at the Great Plains Credit Union south-side door. They will take your number and you will wait in your car.”

Torres says masks will be required once you get inside the building.

“We cannot do farms and we also cannot do large businesses. So we can do small businesses such as hair stylist, things like that, but any kind of medium to large businesses we cannot do, we cannot do depreciations.”

The VITA office here in Joplin opened on Monday, but Torres says it you want to avoid most of the lines, he says avoid coming in until after February, in Joplin.

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Healthcare Spotlight: Kendra Cochran, Freeman Rehabilitation and Sports Center

JOPLIN, Mo. — When you think of going through physical therapy, you may not look forward to the potential pain, pushing yourself to heal and get stronger.

But Kendra Cochran says many times, it’s a better choice than other treatment options.

It’s a career she’s enjoyed for more than a decade. It’s just one reason she’s tonight’s Healthcare Spotlight.

“We have occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists,” said Kendra Cochran, Rehab Svcs, Clinical Coor.

It’s all part of the mix at Freeman Rehabilitation and Sports Center. And that’s Cochran’s work home.

“I’ve just always been drawn to that, to the healthcare. I like the study of human movement, like helping people. It’s just, it is a rewarding career to get to make a big difference in people’s lives.”

She started as a staff physical therapist 13 years ago. More recently, she’s taken on the role of Clinical Coordinator at the Rehab Center.

“So we get to do the fun stuff. The doctors get to fix them and then we get to see them through to get the results that they’re looking for and get them better. And back to where they were before they got injured.”

Kendra points out that rehab is generally cheaper and faster than other kinds of treatment.

“We help people learn how to use movement and exercise instead of medicine to control their symptoms and get better.”

She likes that her job gives her a chance to educate patients about taking charge of their health.

“Giving them power to understand what’s going on in their body, why they’re hurting and what they can do to control it and get it better. Just giving them some type of ownership over their health, over their condition,” said Cochran.