Bat-wielding woman pleads down to assault charge in shoplifting incident

·1 min read

May 24—A Joplin woman facing robbery charges in a shoplifting incident at a sporting goods store pleaded guilty to an amended charge of assault Monday and was granted probation.

Jenae D. Lewis, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in a plea agreement dismissing a second count of armed criminal action that was based on her alleged use of a baseball bat to fend off an employee of Dunham's Sports who was trying to stop her from leaving the Northpark Mall store on May 30, 2020, without paying for the bat and a duffel bag.

Lewis had been facing a charge of first-degree robbery as well as armed criminal action. Her plea deal called for a suspended imposition of sentence, which Circuit Judge Dean Dankelson granted, placing her on supervised probation for five years.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case states that Lewis swung the bat at a male employee who tried to stop her as she was leaving the business. She whiffed on the employee, and he was able to wrest the bat away from her. But she then punched him in the arm, causing him to drop the duffel bag he had managed to take back from her, and she picked it up again and fled in a vehicle with three companions, according to the affidavit.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.

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