Guilty plea entered in Joplin man's domestic assault case

·1 min read

Jun. 23—A 57-year-old Joplin man took a plea offer on the five felony counts he was set to go to trial on this week in his domestic assault case.

Todd S. Creel pleaded guilty Friday in Jasper County Circuit Court to counts of second-degree domestic assault and first-degree vehicle tampering in a plea agreement dismissing related counts of stealing, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Circuit Judge Gayle Crane delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea bargain and ordered the completion of a sentencing assessment of the defendant before a sentencing hearing Aug. 8. Creel's plea deal would limit the prison time he might receive to no more than seven years.

Creel had been set to go to trial Tuesday on the charges pertaining to an incident Sept. 8, 2019, when his girlfriend got mad at him and ordered him out of her truck. A probable-cause affidavit states that he turned violent, grabbing her by her hair, twisting her neck and choking her to the point that she began losing consciousness.

Creel then purportedly wrested a handgun from her waistband and pointed it at her, prompting her to jump out of the truck and run. He then allegedly drove off with her truck. Joplin police later found him hiding in a garage and arrested him.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.