Hannibal man charged with threatening life of DFS worker to face jury trial

James L. Smith
Posted: Apr. 24, 2017 12:46 pm

After requests for dismissal of the case and bond reduction were denied, a jury trial will be scheduled for a Hannibal man who allegedly threatened to kill a Missouri Division of Family Services employee.

James L. Smith, of Hannibal, appeared by videoconference before Judge John Jackson in the Marion County Associate Court Friday, April 21. Public defender Jonathan Hoover represented Smith. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton represented the state.

Hoover presented motions to dismiss the case and reduce Smith's bond. Jackson denied those motions. The defense requested a jury trial, which Jackson approved. Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd will assign the trial, which is slated to be transferred back to Jackson's court.

Smith faces a Class A misdemeanor charge of tampering with a witness and a Class C misdemeanor of fourth-degree assault stemming from an April 5 incident at Smith's home on Dowling St. Clayton said this case would be given a "high priority" due to the nature of the alleged crimes.

The Division of Family Services Investigator was responding to a hotline call regarding allegations of abuse and neglect of a child at the residence at around 4:45 p.m. According to a witness statement, Smith entered the home at 4:55 p.m. The investigator left the home without speaking to Smith, who allegedly asked what kind of car the employee drove. He allegedly threatened to look up where the employee lived and told her he would "[expletive] kill me," according to a probable cause statement.

Smith's case will move forward to the trial stage next after it has been assigned. The defendant remains lodged in the Marion County Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

 Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at

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