Hostage-taker shooting
was justified, Missouri prosecutor says

(NEWTON COUNTY, Mo.) -- The county prosecutor's office has determined that the Sept. 17 shooting of an alleged hostage-taker by Joplin police was justified.

"I have determined that the shooting by the officer against the hostage-taker was justified because of the safety of the hostage that had been taken," prosecutor Scott Watson told the Joplin Globe.

A Joplin police sharpshooter shot Harold Dean James, 40, in the neck after he held at knifepoint Capri Motel manager, Donald Leroy Pruett.

"It is my belief, save that action (the shooting of James), that in all likelihood severe injury or fatal injury to the hostage was imminent," Watson told the newspaper.

Police already had been looking for James before the motel kidnapping in connection with the murder of Charles Russell "Rusty" Marrett earlier that day. Marrett, according to police, was found stabbed repeatedly in James' home.

James has been charged with felony kidnapping and armed criminal action in Newton County, the location of the motel, and one count of second-degree murder in Jasper County, where Marrett was killed. Bond in each county has been set at $500,000, according to the Globe.

Back to previous page