Arma man faces attempted murder charge

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

According to a press release from the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, at 7 p.m., Monday night, Crawford County law enforcement dispatched Crawford County Sheriff deputies to 908 N. 270 Street in rural Arcadia, Kan. regarding a possible assault in progress. The deputies and a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper arrived on scene and discovered the victim Thomas Morse II, 26, of Arma behind the residence with what appeared to be serious injuries, the release said.

After assessing Morse's injuries, Crawford County EMS requested a helicopter to transport him to St. John's Hospital in Joplin, MO. As of press time, the condition of the victim had improved and Morse was able to speak with one of the detectives who is working the case, according to Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton.

Thus far, the investigation has revealed that 24 year old Arma, Kan. resident, Justin M. Wheeler , 220 W. Washington Street, and Morse picked up 22 year-old Mulberry resident Christopher L. Steffey in an attempt to intimidate him regarding a previous case, which occurred in Mulberry on June 5.

The press release said in the June 5 incident, of which Wheeler was also a suspect, Steffey and Ronald Hutson were alleged victims of criminal trespass and battery.

After Wheeler and Morse picked Steffey up, Morse decided he did not want to participate in Steffey's intimidation. It was then that Wheeler turned on Morse and the battery took place, the press release said. Adding that Morse may have been hit with the vehicle that the two men were driving.

In addition to the alleged battery of Morse, a witness to the incident 19 year-old Lacy Hutson of Mulberry told officers that Wheeler had provided her with alcohol.

Horton said although the case is still under investigation, one suspect has been apprehended. Wheeler was arrested for attempted murder, two counts of intimidation of a witness or a victim and furnishing alcohol to a minor. He is being held with no bond awaiting formal charges to be filed by John Gutierrez, the County Attorney in Crawford County.