State briefs 12/24/05

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Venue changed for mother of injured child

Glenda Ross, mother of the 7-year-old girl who lost her arm in a Scott City railroad accident, was granted a change of venue to Butler County. She was released on bond on her own recognizance on Dec. 5, under the condition that she have no contact with children. Scott County assistant prosecutor Dana Wiess said a motion for bond revocation was aggressively argued on Dec. 19, after Scott County police submitted a probable cause statement alleging that Ross was in a "supervisory capacity of another minor," or baby-sitting. Circuit Judge David Dolan didn't rule on the bond revocation, Wiess said, and deferred the decision to the assigned judge in Butler County. A court date was not set. Ross faces three charges of first-degree child endangerment. Mikala Morrow lost her arm Oct. 30 when a train started moving as she, a sister and a friend were crossing under it between cars with Ross and Ross' boyfriend. The southbound train was parked and began moving after allowing a northbound train to pass. The boyfriend has not been charged.

Scott City optometrist gets Feb. 8 hearing

Bond reduction was denied on Tuesday to Dr. Sean de Jager, an optometrist accused of sodomy with a 16-year-old Scott City boy. Associate Circuit Judge David Mann set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 8. De Jager is being held at the Scott County Jail on a $250,000 cash or surety bond. He could face up to seven years in prison for each of 12 counts of statutory sodomy filed on Nov. 22. The alleged victim said as many as 50 incidents occurred during the alleged extended sexual relationship that the boy has said included payments for sexual acts. No charges have been filed in Cape Girardeau County, where the boy said two of the alleged acts occurred.

Three charged with felony burglary, stealing

Three suspects were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly burglarizing two Cape Girardeau County locations and stealing $5,630 in electronic and music equipment. Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle charged Bryan J. Burke, 17, of Jackson, Jeffery Bridgeman, 21, of Millersville, and Christopher Messmer, 19, of Jackson, with two felony counts each of burglary and stealing for two Dec. 16 incidents at a residence on Old Route V in Cape Girardeau County and the First General Baptist Church in Jackson. Burke and Messmer are being held on $20,000 cash or surety bonds, and Bridgeman is being held on a $25,000 cash or surety bond. According to a sworn affidavit with charges by Sgt. Eric Friedrich of the sheriff's department, among the items stolen from the residence were a laptop computer, three electric guitars and a rifle. The church reported stolen a projector, two hand-held radios and a safe containing payroll checks, bank books and credit cards.

Christmas displays vandalized in rural area

CROCKER, Mo. -- Police are seeking the holiday grinches who ransacked Christmas displays in rural south-central Missouri. A number of displays at homes in and around Crocker, near Fort Leonard Wood, along with about 30 mailboxes, were destroyed late Thursday or early Friday, police said. Vandals have also damaged other public and private property in recent weeks. Earlier this week, vandals struck the home of LaVonne and James Kosanke, causing damage estimated at more than $600.

Inflatable King Kong swiped from theater

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- King Kong is on the loose in the Springfield area. A 200-pound, 33-foot-tall inflatable Kong vanished before dawn Thursday from the roof of the Springfield 8 movie theater, apparently snatched by thieves. "We sent a photographer over there to take some pictures this morning, and that's when we discovered it was missing," said Adam Brown, vice president of Amberg Entertainment Inc., which rented the big ape to the movie theater to promote the new "King Kong" movie. Brown suspects King Kong might have been taken by pranksters who had little idea the theft is a felony. The model is worth $7,000 to $8,000.

-- From staff, wire reports

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