SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Two Missouri bail bond agents who are accused of raiding the wrong house while trying to find a suspect in Springfield last year are facing new charges, including felony weapons violations.
Greene County prosecutors charged Joshua Dennison, 30, and Wade Thompson, 36, this week with two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon, The Springfield News-Leader reported Saturday. Both men were charged in October with two counts of first-degree trespassing and one count of false imprisonment.
The charges stem from the men's Nov. 1, 2009, search for Andrew Hegger, who had left the Eureka jail while awaiting trial for a DUI. Prosecutors allege that Dennison and Thompson forced their way into two homes and held the wrong man at gunpoint before eventually finding the suspect.
Thompson and Dennison have both pleaded not guilty and are due in court on Dec. 7. Phone messages left Saturday for their lawyers were not immediately returned.
Allen Cox, whose home was the first one the agents visited, told The Springfield News-Leader he questions why it took nearly a year for the men to be charged. Cox said he was getting into his truck when the agents forced him out and onto the ground at gunpoint.
"If I go whip out a gun and pull one of my neighbors out of a vehicle, I'm going to jail right then," he said.
Thompson then held Cox on the ground while Dennison burst into the Cox home, where Dennison pointed a gun at Cox's wife, Roberta, according to the probable cause statement.
When they didn't find Heffer, the agents went to a neighboring home, where they're also accused of forcing entry and displaying their weapons, according to the probable cause statement. A woman at the second house led the agents to Hegger.
Russell Dempsey, the assistant prosecutor handling the case, said although bail bond agents have some expanded authority when pursuing fugitives, the circumstances warranted criminal charges against the two. He also said turnover at the prosecutor's office was in part responsible for the delay in charges.