By Echo Menges
The Knox County Courtroom was quite nearly empty this morning, Friday, March 8, 2013, with the majority of the attendees being courthouse staff and attorneys.
On the docket this day, former Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Howard Smith, 40, of Edina, who was set to be arraigned by Knox County Circuit Judge Russell E. Steele on three felony counts, theft/stealing, receiving stolen property and resisting arrest.
When his name was called Smith and his attorney, Lance M. McClamroch of Kirksville, approached the front of the courtroom and took seats at the defendants table. To their left, already seated and comfortable at the prosecutor’s table was Assistant Attorney General Monte Platz, who made the pilgrimage from Jefferson City to be at today’s arraignment.
Almost immediately after the proceedings began McClamroch told the court his client would be “entering a modified guilty plea” to all three felony counts.
Judge Steele asked Platz, the prosecutor, what evidence the state was prepared to present against Smith in the case and Platz rattled off the list of evidence including testimony from KSCO employees who could identify the stolen police radio in question, phone, PayPal and E-Bay records and testimony from the trooper Smith resisted when being taken into custody after being formally charged in October of 2012, and so on.
Smith, looking only forward, was statuesque as the list was being read aloud, after which he was asked to swear in by Judge Steel.
After swearing to, "tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Smith was asked a number of questions by Judge Steele.
“Do you understand that by pleading guilty you are giving up your right to a trial?” said Judge Steele.
“Yes sir,” said Smith.
On the charge of stealing over $500 worth of property, a police radio from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, a Class C Felony, Smith said, “Guilty.”
On the charge of receiving stolen property from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, also a Class C Felony, Smith said, “Guilty.”
On the charge of resisting arrest in October by Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Nathan Shinkle, a Class D Felony, Smith said, “Guilty.”
Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in Knox County Circuit Court by Judge Russell E. Steele. He is facing up to 18 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
More details about today's proceedings and this story will be featured in the March 13, 2013 issue of The Edina Sentinel.
For past stories on this case see links listed below.
Posted Friday, March 8, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.