County Jail Inmate Starts Fight, Charged with Felony

Jason McDowell, 23, of Willow Springs, pled guilty to a misdemeanor fourth degree assault charge during a court hearing on June 15. Online court records show that the defendant was sentenced to serve 25 days in Howell County Jail, with credit for time previously served. 
The assault charge stemmed from a February incident. According to the probable cause statement filed by Officer Ben Bishop, formerly of the Willow Springs Police Department, a father and son reported an altercation with an unknown male subject, later identified to be McDowell, on February 19. According to the victims, they were outside their residence on Short St. with their dog when the subject approached in a threatening manner yelling obscenities at them. The suspect produced a large knife and began swinging it at the men and the dog. The son collared the dog, but McDowell allegedly continued to act in an aggressive manner, swinging the knife within inches of the younger man’s face. 
McDowell was arrested on May 3 for the three originally filed charges of second degree assault, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon. He remained in Howell County Jail until May 11, when his bond, originally set at $5,000, was reduced and the defendant was released on his own recognizance. 
After McDowell failed to appear for a court setting on May 28, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody and remained in Howell County Jail until his next hearing on June 15, where he pled guilty to the lesser charge of fourth degree assault and was sentenced. 
However, only days before, McDowell was accused of starting a fight with another inmate while in custody. According to a probable cause statement filed by Deputy Shane Cronican of the Howell County Sheriff’s Office, jail staff members were alerted to an injured inmate in the “Minimum Pod.” When law enforcement officers entered the area, they saw an inmate on the ground with another inmate supporting his head. McDowell was sitting on a bunk behind the two men. 
Inmates originally reported that the injured man had had a seizure before McDowell admitted, and it was later confirmed by video footage, that the two had been in a fight. The video footage indicated that McDowell rushed the other inmate. The two began shoving before McDowell swung, hit the inmate on the head and put him in a headlock. At this point, both men were throwing punches, but McDowell lifted the combatant and slammed him into the ground, where the victim hit his head on the concrete floor. The deputy’s statement describes an apparent seizure captured on video before jail staff arrived at the scene. 
The altercation took place on June 8, one week before McDowell appeared in Court, pled guilty, and was sentenced. A Class A felony assault charge was filed by the Howell County Prosecutor’s office on June 14, one day before McDowell’s appearance. 
According to online court records, a warrant for this new charge did not issue, but rather a criminal summons with no bond attached. McDowell was served with this summons on June 15 while in jail. His first court date for this matter is on July 19.
Because McDowell’s sentence allowed for credit for time served, and the new charge carried no warrant, McDowell was released when his 25-day sentence was up. He remains on his own recognizance until his upcoming court date before the Honorable R. David Ray.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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