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Deatherage, Jr., pleads guilty to 2023 charges, is sentenced to 10 years


A Tecumseh resident has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in three cases, two in Howell County and one in Ozark County, all of which were filed within a three-month period last year.

Samuel J. Deatherage, Jr., 21, was sentenced to serve 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on an Ozark County charge of shooting at a building; and to four years on an Ozark County charge of third-degree assault, the sentences to run concurrently. They were handed down Feb. 7 by 44th Judicial Circuit Court Judge R. Craig Carter, and related to an Aug. 30 incident in which Deatherage reportedly fired 10 to 15 rounds from a Draco AK-47 variant pistol at seven victims, including three children, after becoming heavily intoxicated and making threats.

Deatherage was originally charged with six felonies: a count each of first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and discharging or shooting a firearm at another person, and three counts each of first-degree child endangerment.

The incident resulted in all of the victims running in fear of their lives, according to a probable cause statement, and one of the bullets passed through the back and front windows of a pickup truck, grazing a woman in the head.

Ten to 15 rounds were fired during the incident, at the home of one of Deatherage’s family members.

At the time of that incident, Deatherage was charged in Howell County with first-degree assault or attempt, armed criminal action, shooting a firearm from a vehicle, unlawful use of a weapon by exhibiting and by possessing a weapon and a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance to a minor and third-degree assault on a special victim, all felonies.

They were filed following a July 9, 2023, incident on Walker Street in West Plains, when Deatherage got into an altercation with two other men and pointed a gun out of his truck window toward them as they ran away.

During that incident, according to law enforcement, he fired a round which struck a curb on Walker Street before driving away and tossing the gun, a .40-caliber Glock 22 with an extended magazine and a round still in the chamber, a few feet off the road on nearby Maple Street.

During a probable cause search of Deatherage's vehicle, West Plains Police Officer Jacob Brixey said, he found a clear plastic baggie in a compartment that contained 18 blue tablets and 12 yellow tablets, each identified as alprazolam, also known by the trade name Xanax.

Deatherage reportedly admitted to law enforcement the gun and the drugs were his, and during a search warrant executed that evening at Deatherage's house on Amyx Street, where he was living at the time, Brixey reported 13 plastic baggies were found, plus two plastic baggies with nine tablets of alprazolam each, brass knuckles and a scale, items the officer noted as typically used to package narcotics for distribution. Alprazolam is a prescription drug generally used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.

The third-degree assault on a special victim charge came as a result of Deatherage allegedly scratching an officer during a fight after he'd been taken into custody. Court records showed he posted bond of $50,000 and was released two days after the incident.

Deatherage pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to one felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon by exhibiting, as part of a plea bargain, and was sentenced to four years by Presiding 37th Circuit Court Judge Steven Privette.

The sentence is to run concurrently with the Ozark County sentences, and with a four-year sentence handed down by Privette after a guilty plea made the same day to a Howell County charge of felony first-degree harassment in a case filed in April 2023.