Charges dismissed in Joplin shooting case

Sep. 27—NEOSHO, Mo. — A defendant accused of shooting and wounding another man July 16 in Joplin saw his charges dismissed Monday because of the victim's unwillingness to testify against him.

Richard E. McWhirt, 42, of Joplin, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Newton County Circuit Court on charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. But the hearing was canceled due to what the prosecutor's office cited as a lack of cooperation on the part of the man McWhirt purportedly shot.

Gregory Hallstrom, 34, was shot in the left arm and upper torso while seated on a couch inside a residence in the 1400 block of South Finley Avenue in the early morning hours of July 16.

Officers responding to a report of a shooting at the address found Hallstrom suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to Mercy Hospital Joplin with what was termed life-threatening injuries and was reported initially to be in critical condition.

But Hallstrom survived and was released from the hospital a few days later.

Investigators found a single casing in the living room and blood on a couch where Hallstrom had been sitting. Some video surveillance of the front and side yards of the residence obtained by police showed a man in a tank top pacing about the yard with a gun in his hand about 30 minutes before the shooting.

A probable-cause affidavit filed with the charges on McWhirt several days later stated police were able to identify the suspect in the tank top as the defendant.

The affidavit stated that McWhirt had a criminal history that included arrests in cases of negligent homicide, shooting with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.