Region briefs 3/30/07

Friday, March 30, 2007

Woman gets 15 days for educational neglect

A Cape Girardeau woman pleaded guilty Friday to violating educational requirements and was sentenced to 15 days in jail. Irma Barnes, of 319 N. Park Drive, Apt. 183, was charged with the misdemeanor offense in December for allegedly keeping her 13-year-old child out of public school for reasons that are unknown. Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp handed down the sentence at the courthouse in Jackson. According to the probable-cause statement, a Cape Girardeau truant officer was notified by Central Junior High School that Barnes' child missed school between Aug. 22 and Oct. 19 for "no valid reason." According to Randy Rhodes, juvenile projects director of the 32nd Judicial Circuit in Cape Girardeau, the case is significant because so few educational neglect cases are prosecuted. "It's a very low level crime per se," Rhodes said. "It's been very hard to get evidentiary evidence to get charges filed in these cases." When a child has two unexcused absences from school, a visit from one of the agency's two truancy officers quickly resolves the problem in most cases with a visit to the home and a discussion with the parent about the legal requirements of keeping children in school until the age of 16, Rhodes said.

Men charged in bomb threat head to trial

Two Jackson men charged with making a terrorist threat were bound over for trial Friday in the Jackson courthouse. The charge is a felony and carries a maximum seven-year prison term. Duane H. Haffner, 23, and Leotis S. Allen, 21, reportedly threatened to bomb the Jackson courthouse last month in an effort to get police to tackle one of them, so they could file a lawsuit. According to the probable-cause statement, Haffner called Jackson police anonymously, saying he had information that a black man walking with a limp would be taking a bomb to the county courthouse in Jackson at 9 a.m. Thursday. Haffner reportedly described the clothing the man would be wearing down to a Timberland black hoodie and said he would be concealing a bomb in his shoe. Haffner reportedly admitted to police he made the call at the direction of Allen, who provided him with a phone card and written directions on what to say.

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