Joplin man pleads to stolen car, firearm charges

·1 min read

Jun. 30—A 33-year-old defendant pleaded guilty Wednesday to stolen car and firearm charges in a plea agreement requiring that he enter a local treatment court program.

Samuel J. Hughes, of Joplin, pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to counts of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of a firearm in a plea deal dismissing an array of other charges he picked up in 2020 and 2021.

The plea agreement accepted by Judge Gayle Crane requires that Hughes enter and complete a local treatment court program after which he could be assessed a suspended imposition of sentences.

The vehicle tampering conviction pertains to the April 29, 2020, theft of a car from a woman in Joplin. A probable-cause affidavit states that he asked the woman if he could borrow the car and then took it anyway when she told him no.

Hughes incurred firearm charges less than a month later when Joplin police responded to a report of a shot fired in the 1300 block of South Pennsylvania Avenue. Hughes was stopped leaving the area in a car, and a loaded pistol was found in the vehicle, along with a small amount of marijuana and some brass knuckles.

A felony count of possession of an illegal weapon filed on him with respect to the brass knuckles was one of the counts dismissed in his plea deal. There also were a number of other weapon-related or drug possession charges dismissed in the deal.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.