Jul. 29—A 34-year-old Joplin man was assessed suspended sentences and probation when he pleaded guilty this week to felony weapon charges.
Michael W. Marchbanks pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to counts of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest in a plea agreement recommending that he receive suspended sentences.
Circuit Judge Gayle Crane accepted the plea deal and assessed Marchbanks four years on each count with execution of the sentences suspended and the defendant placed on supervised probation for five years.
The charges stemmed from a domestic disturbance Dec. 13, 2019, involving the defendant's girlfriend in the apartment they shared on South Byers Avenue in Joplin.
A probable-cause affidavit states that Marchbanks woke his girlfriend up in the early morning hours, acting in a "crazed" manner and armed with two knives and threatening to stab her and her two children. Police arrived at the residence while the disturbance was still in progress, and an officer wrote in the affidavit that he saw Marchbanks yelling and making slashing movements at his girlfriend with the knives.
When officers forced their way into the apartment and told him to drop the knives, he refused and started making slashing motions at the officers, who used a stun gun to take him into custody.
Marchbanks also had been facing robbery charges from an arrest in March 2020 in Joplin. In that case, he was accused of robbing another man of a backpack containing an iPad and cellphone at the same apartment on Byers Avenue while armed with a weapon. Those charges were dismissed in May of this year due to the alleged victim's failure to show up and testify against him at a preliminary hearing.
Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.