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Hill Enters Plea For 2015 Alleged Assault Of An Officer - KOAM TV 7

Hill Enters Plea For 2015 Alleged Assault Of An Officer

Updated:
Jeffrey Hill Jeffrey Hill
Joplin, MO -

9/12:  Jeffrey Hill  appeared in a Newton County court room today. Hill is charged w/ assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, DWI, and driving while revoked. He was extradited some time after his April 2016 arrest in Wichita. According to court documents, Hill waived his arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty. A pre-trial conference has been set for later this month.

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UPDATE (4/29): According police documents, Jeffrey Hill was arrested in Wichita, KS on drug and drug paraphernalia charges. Local authorities are aware Hill is in custody, but it's up to Sedgwick County whether he will be extradited.

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A man suspected of trying to use a vehicle to assault a Joplin police officer is free tonight.  The suspect apparently found a loophole in the local legal system.

Joplin police have asked surrounding agencies to be on the lookout for this man, but it's not because of the suspect's alleged assault on an officer.

Jeffrey Hill was in bad shape.

"He received gunshot wounds to the thoracic cavity.  So I mean, those are life-threatening wounds," says Captain Bob Higginbotham with the Joplin Police Department.

Joplin police say Hill was in intensive care at Freeman hospital, and was even in a coma for a few days.  But on December 21, police say Hill convinced a friend to take him out of the hospital by wheelchair.

"He knew the circumstances," says Higginbotham.

"He" being the friend, and the "circumstances" are what happened 21 days before Hill left the hospital.  Police say there was a domestic disturbance involving Hill at an apartment complex, located at 330 South Texas Avenue.  Police officers say when they arrived, Hill tried to drive a vehicle towards an officer, and that officer shot at Hill.  

Police were waiting to arrest Hill until after he got out of the hospital.

"Law enforcement in general is not set-up to have people in the hospital who are under arrest," says Higginbotham.  "We've had other suspects, who have attacked our officers, who we've shot, who ended up eventually dying in a nursing home.  That went on for years.  We never placed that person under arrest."

Higginbotham says police would essentially have to babysit a suspect in this type of condition, and that's not possible.

No law enforcement officer was standing guard over Hill.

"Just our mere presence can impose the feeling that I'm not free to leave, as a citizen," says Higginbotham.

Hill and his friend did nothing illegal by leaving the hospital.  But Hill did leave against the advice of medical staff.

"We notified all the surrounding agencies that he was out.  He was likely facing life-threatening injuries and needs medical care," says Higginbotham.

Freeman hospital is not releasing surveillance video showing Hill leaving with his friend.

The Joplin Police Department, after Hill walked out of the hospital, officially asked the Newton County prosecutor to file charges.  The Newton County prosecutor has now officially filed charges of assault on a police officer, armed criminal action, felony DWI, and felony driving on a revoked license.

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