A Labette County woman charged with endangering a child may wait until next week to learn if she will be ordered tried on the charge.

Samantha Stover, born in 1997, is charged with aggravated endangering a child, a low-level felony. The complaint and testimony at a preliminary hearing showed that on June 18, 2019, Stover’s newborn son tested positive for cocaine, as did she.

Parsons Police Lt. Sherri McGuire testified that Stover denied using cocaine. She said the last time she used cocaine was in November 2018 when she found out she was pregnant, McGuire testified. Stover speculated that she must have had contact with someone who may have used cocaine. 

McGuire said when she told Stover that she had tested positive for cocaine, Stover asked her, “just cocaine?” McGuire testified that Stover thought she would test positive for marijuana and wondered why marijuana didn’t show up on the hospital drug screen.

After testimony, Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones asked Judge Steve Stockard to order Stover tried on the charge. Stover’s attorney, Linus Thuston, asked for the case to be dismissed. He argued there was no evidence that his client used cocaine in Labette County or that she even lived in Kansas. He also argued that state law excludes any act committed by a mother of the unborn child. Another of the arguments he made was that a mother giving an infant cocaine after his birth would be endangering a child. 

Jones said he was not prepared to respond to Thuston’s arguments and needed to research the issues. 

Stockard called the issue fascinating and wanted to give attorneys time to submit case law and briefs. He said he would make his ruling on whether Stover should stand trial after reading the submissions. The case will return to court on Feb. 10.


In other cases:

— Jeffery S. Wilson, 31, Iola, pleaded no contest to forgery and stipulated that he violated terms of his probation in an older case. The forgery charge relates to checks found in a stolen car discovered at Thomas Implement on Dec. 19, 2019. The payroll checks were made out to Wilson from businesses where he didn’t work. Sentencing will be March 18.

— Freedom T. “Skip” Hazelton, 46, had a hearing to correct what he alleges is an illegal sentence in a 1996 murder case. Hazelton did not attend the hearing. Hazelton was convicted of first degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, drug charges and obstructing the official duty of an officer and sentenced to a Hard 40 sentence. He’s not parole eligible until 2036. Hazelton was charged with the Nov. 1, 1996, shooting death of Billy Jack Woods, 18, Oswego, and the attempted murder of Kyle Lawson, then 18, Oswego. That afternoon, Oswego Community Hospital officials notified the Labette County Sheriff’s Office that they were treating a man with gunshot wounds. Investigators later learned that Woods could be found in a field southeast of Oswego. Within two hours of the call from the hospital, officers arrived at Hazelton’s Oswego home. Hazelton held officers at bay for more than four hours before surrendering peacefully. Hazelton’s case will return to court on March 11.

— Kaile Combs, born in 1997, pleaded not guilty to aggravated indecent liberties with a child, an off grid felony. The complaint alleges the crime happened in April 2018. The crime carries a penalty of life in prison with no parole for at least 25 years upon conviction. Combs will return to court on Feb. 25.

— Christopher D. Steinshouer, born in 1998, Parsons, who is charged with mistreatment of a dependent adult, requested through his attorney a bond lower than $15,000. The prosecutor pointed out that Steinshouer has faced crimes of increasing seriousness (criminal threat, battery of a law officer then the current case) and he was concerned for public safety. Stockard denied the bond change. Steinshouer will return to court Feb. 25.

— Michael S. Jenkins, 31, Parsons, charged with the mid-level felony aggravated battery, had a preliminary hearing delayed because of difficulties in getting a complaining witness into court or serving him. The hearing was reset for Feb. 25. Jenkins has remained jailed on a $15,000 bond. Stockard however agreed to release Jenkins on his own recognizance. But Jenkins was to be on house arrest and subject to electronic monitoring before being released.

— Owyn T. Back, 20, is charged in two cases in Labette County District Court. In one case, he faces two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, one count of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated battery. The alleged assault took place the night of May 12, 2018, and the next morning after a senior party in the Bartlett area. Labette County High School’s graduation took place on May 13, 2018. The new case alleges two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, each a level three felony. The complaint alleges that between Oct. 1 and 23, 2019, Back persuaded a child under age 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct. A jury trial is set for the week of Aug. 23 in the rape case. A preliminary hearing will take place March 22 in the exploitation case.

— Katrina M. Beach, 34, Parsons, pleaded no contest to non-residential burglary, a felony. She will return to court on Feb. 19 for sentencing. She was supposed to be tried in two cases this month. The plea resolved both trials. Her attorney, Brandon Cameron, also is leaving his practice in Erie and hopes to get Beach’s case resolved before he leaves for his next job. Beach and Langston Polk led police on a 28-mile vehicle chase from Winway Park in Parsons into Neosho County Sept. 1, 2019. Polk and Beach stole items from the concession stand at Winway before being spotted by police and speeding off. Polk will be sentenced later this month for non-residential burglary and fleeing and eluding.

— Jeffrey Lloyd Baker, born in 1975, Parsons, was ordered tried for kidnapping, aggravated endangering a child, criminal threat, all felonies, and domestic battery and criminal damage, both misdemeanors, after testimony in a preliminary hearing. His wife testified about the incident from Nov. 15 to 16 in Parsons during which she alleges Baker kept her from leaving the home, slashed a tire on her car, broke her phone and threatened to kill her. He also allegedly told her son that he would kill his mother. His wife operates a day care in the home and eventually used the phone of one of the parents to call her brother to pick up her and her children. Even though she testified that she could have left, she said she didn’t want to for fear of what Baker would do to her home. Baker pleaded not guilty to the charges. A status in the case is set for March 22.

— Keith E. Dean, born in 1976, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a felony, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors. On May 30, 2020, Dean was a passenger in a car pulled over by Chetopa police. Police found meth in a cigarette box. Sentencing will be March 17.

— Derrick M. Beery, born in 1970, pleaded no contest to fleeing and eluding law enforcement, a charge related to a vehicle chase in May 2020. Sentencing will be March 17.

— Dustin E. Schulze, born in 1983, Parsons, made a first appearance on Wednesday on one count of aggravated violation of the Kansas Offender Registration Act, a high-level felony, and five counts of violation of the registration act, mid-level felonies. Schulze said he’s homeless and does not work. Judge Stockard set his bond at $10,000 and ordered him to return to court on Feb. 17. Deputy County Attorney Mandy Johnson had requested a $25,000 bond.

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