Maries County Judge wants to hear from arresting officers before ruling on probation, or prison term, for Owensville man

By: 
Laura Schiermeier

VIENNA — Judge William Hickle, in the Maries County Circuit Court on Monday, stopped short of putting an Owensville man on probation for assaulting law enforcement officers after fleeing them. 

Hickle said he wants to communicate with the arresting officers before making his decision. 

Joshua Barton, 31, of Owensville, is charged with the felonies of resisting/interfering with arrest for a felony, and resisting arrest/detention/stop by fleeing creating a substantial risk of serious injury/death to any person. He was also originally charged with tampering but that was dismissed by the prosecutor because he was convicted of stealing the car in Gasconade County. 

On Monday, Barton pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and fleeing arrest.

Prosecutor Terry Schwartze told the court initially she was going to recommend a prison term for Barton, but changed her mind when Gasconade County put him on probation for stealing the car, which was the original crime. She recommended four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each felony charge and suspending the imposition of sentence and placing him on probation for four years. 

Schwartze said if Barton does not keep himself straight, there are three felony crimes that will come down on him. She said he’s spent three months in jail. And, although he fought with two officers they were hit but not harmed. He was belligerent and combative and has been in jail since the incident.

The incident occurred in early February 2018, when Barton stole a vehicle in Gasconade County and was driving on Highway 28 from Belle into Osage County, and led officers on a high speed chase. When the vehicle broke down, he ran on foot and deputies had to forcibly take him into custody.

He was impaired, resisted arrest and assaulted the deputies, including grabbing the genitals of one of the on-scene officers and kicking a deputy. He continued his violence in the patrol car, kicking and damaging the vehicle. He was pepper sprayed twice, once on the scene and another at the jail where he chest bumped Sheriff Chris Heitman and an altercation ensued.

Heitman said Barton had to be isolated and made terrible statements to deputies, saying he would rape their girls and women. Heitman said Barton is a convicted rapist. Barton told the sheriff whiskey made him act as he did.

Barton’s attorney, public defender Matthew Crowell, said Barton has started probation in Gasconade County and there have not been any incidents. Hickle said he wants to communicate with the law enforcement officers on this and will not approve an SIS and probation until he has. Barton’s case was put back on the docket.