A Charleston, Mo., man is facing the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence — again — after he was arrested in Cape Girardeau County this week on drunken driving and assault charges that are starkly similar to those that put him behind bars in 2004.
James E. Stinnett, 36, was arrested Sunday by the Missouri State Highway Patrol when a trooper noticed him driving erratically, a stop that resulted in Stinnett getting several charges, including a count of first-degree assault from an incident last October when prosecutors say he pointed a loaded rifle at a man at a convenience store parking lot in East Prairie, Mo.
Additional counts that stem from the traffic stop on Sunday include:
- DWI, which tallies at least four for Stinnett, elevating the charge to aggravated and bringing the possibility of stiffer penalties;
- possesing a firearm and ammunition, illegal for Stinnett, a convicted felon;
- and three other traffic offenses — driving on a revoked license, failing to register his vehicle; and not having insurance.
Stinnett was being held on a $100,000 bond at the Cape Girardeau County Jail. A review of online documents show court dates have yet to be set in Stinnett’s cases and listed no defense lawyer.
Mississippi County prosecutor Darren Cann knows Stinnett’s case well — both of these. Cann will try to convict Stinnett for the Mississippi County assault charge, a felony that carries a possible pounishment of up to 15 years.
In that case, Stinnett allegedly pointed a loaded rifle at a man during the early-morning hours of Oct. 27 during an altercation.That was a “substantial step,” Cann said, in trying to seriously injure or kill the man Stinnett was fighting with.
But Cann was also the one who, as an assistant prosecutor in Scott County in 2004, worked to put Stinnett away. Stinnett was charged with DWI and second-degree assault after he fired a weapon into his home while fighting with his wife, but the bullet hit another who was inside the home at the time, Cann said.
Stinnett acknowledged his guilt in a plea agreement with prosecutors that year in exchange for a reduced charge and was sentenced to seven years for the assault and four years for the DWI, sentences that Judge David Dolan set to run concurrently.
Cann could offer no explanation on Wednesday as to why Stinnett’s warrant took a year to reach him. But he did say he would not be surprised if the feds picked up the case considering the weapon involved.
“If they do that, it would be a minimum of 10 calendar years that he’d have to do,” Cann said.