Three area criminal cases are making their way through the court system.

Grand jury indicts Cole Camp man in kidnapping, stabbing

A grand jury has indicted Thomas W. Pitts, of Cole Camp, after he allegedly kidnapped and stabbed a woman in June. 

Pitts has been charged with felony first-degree domestic assault, felony armed criminal action, felony first-degree kidnapping, and two counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon. 

A grand jury indicted Pitts on the charges Aug. 28, and he has an arraignment scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Pettis County Courthouse. 

According to court documents, at 9:30 p.m. June 10, Pettis County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 20000 block of Chmelir Road for a report of a subject who had been stabbed. Deputies made contact with the individual who was suffering from multiple stab wounds. The individual informed deputies Pitts had picked them up the night before and had held them captive since. 

According to court documents, the individual alleged Pitts had also shot their phone out of their hand, causing injury to their middle finger. The individual had left Pitts a few days before the incident after he beat them up. However, Pitts allegedly forced them to return to his residence June 9. 

On June 10, the individual alleged Pitts woke up around 4 p.m. and took their phone, and punched and kicked them. Around 6 p.m., Pitts allegedly shot a gun at them while they were sitting in a chair. Around 8 p.m., Pitts stabbed them and took them to the garage. According to documents, Pitts allegedly told the individual he would tie them up to a pole with zip ties, kill them and torture their family. The individual said Pitts then stabbed them with a small knife. He was about to zip tie the individual when a vehicle pulled up and the individual ran to the neighbor’s house. 

Benton County animal abuse trial set 

The trial has been set for a Benton County animal abuse case, which will happen in Hickory County after a change of venue was granted. 

Tiffany L. Woodington, 49, of Cole Camp, has been charged with 10 counts of felony animal abuse and two counts of misdemeanor animal abuse. 

On Sept. 12, law enforcement and animal task force officers were led to an old school bus, barn, and house in Benton County, which contained 38 dogs and one cat. The animals were alive, but in “unimaginable condition,” according to a press release. The investigation revealed about 120 dogs and one cat had perished. The animals were in various stages of decay, some of which were just bones and were located inside the residence, a shed, the bus and on the property. 

Tiffany had been operating a not-for-profit animal rescue called “All Accounted For” in Benton County. Her husband, Steven C. Woodington, 55, of Texas, has been charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty to non-livestock animals in Texas after Steven was housing 278 dogs in unfit and severely inhumane conditions, according to KRGV. Another individual connected with the Texas case, Mark A. Treviño, is facing animal cruelty charges. 

Tiffany’s trial is set for 8 a.m. March 10-12 with Judge Jeff Mittlehuaser presiding in Hickory County. The pretrial conference is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 3 in the Circuit Court of Pettis County Division 6 courtroom in Sedalia. 

Change of venue granted in Sedalia murder case

A change of venue has been granted for a Clinton man charged with second-degree murder after he led law enforcement on a high-speed chase, which ended in a bystander’s death.

Westley E. Reid, 26, has been charged with felony second-degree murder, felony driving while intoxicated leading to a death, felony first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and felony resisting arrest for leading authorities on a chase which led to the death of uninvolved Zachary A. Hancock Bottom, 27, of Sedalia.

Reid’s change of venue was granted Aug. 25 and the case was transferred to Cooper County. A hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in Cooper County under Judge Jeff Mittlehauser. 

Henry County deputies were advised of a stolen vehicle out of Clinton on March 1. The vehicle was later spotted in Windsor and a traffic stop was attempted. Reid failed to yield and tried to elude deputies.

According to a news release, the vehicle pursuit continued into Benton County and deputies lost sight of the vehicle. A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper overheard radio traffic of a pursuit and located the vehicle traveling at 106 mph north on U.S. Route 65, near State Route 52. The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle and Reid did not comply.

According to court documents, Reid failed to stop for a red light at the intersection of U.S. Route 65 and West 32nd Street in Sedalia at 8:26 p.m. The vehicle Reid was driving hit the driver’s side of a westbound vehicle driven by Hancock Bottom at a high rate of speed.

The impact caused Hancock Bottom’s vehicle to strike a southbound Pettis County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s vehicle and Hancock Bottom was ejected. 

Hancock Bottom was later declared dead at Bothwell Regional Health Center.

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