Jesse Dalton

A West Plains man facing 13 felony charges, all filed since April 25, has been arrested and is in custody without bail after allegedly telling a witness he was “going out in a blaze of glory.” He also was in possession of a bulletproof vest and a 9-mm handgun with the serial number removed.

His mother is also charged after she reportedly rushed to the patrol car Dalton was held in and opened the door, allowing him to flee before he was captured a short time later.     

Jesse Dee Dalton, 19, BB Highway, was taken into custody by local officers, deputies and members of the West Plains/Howell County SWAT team at 5:22 a.m. Saturday at a home on Harlin Drive. 

The latest charges are receiving stolen property, escape or attempted escape from confinement and resisting arrest for a felony. 

Valli Dawn Dalton, 45, BB Highway, is charged with felony aiding the escape of a prisoner confined for a felony. Court records show a warrant was issued for her arrest Saturday, and she was released on a $25,000 bond Monday. 

West Plains Police Detective Joe Neuschwander said at 11:14 p.m. Friday officers received reports of several suspicious-looking people around a vehicle parked near a residence behind the Harlin Ridge Plaza. 

When officers arrived no one was on scene, but a check on a parked vehicle came back as reported stolen from Springfield Oct. 31. 

When law enforcement attempted to make contact at a nearby home, they reportedly first spoke to a man described as being upset officers would attempt to make contact without a search warrant. 

Shortly after, a woman reportedly came out a window of the home and told officers she saw Jesse Dalton driving the stolen vehicle, wearing a bulletproof vest and in possession of a 9-mm handgun.

He allegedly told her he took the vehicle and was going to be involved in a shootout with police.

Dalton was already wanted on charges of first-degree assault with serious injury and armed criminal action charges, the warrant issued Friday with a $50,000 bond.      

The home was reportedly secured by law enforcement officers while a search warrant was obtained. SWAT team members then entered and arrested Dalton, who was found with a loaded 9-mm firearm, ammunition and a bulletproof vest. 

Dalton was placed in the caged backseat of a patrol car and Valli Dalton, who was waiting at the incident command post for the outcome of the operation, allegedly approached the rear door of the vehicle and opened it, allowing Jesse Dalton to run out. 

According to court documents, in an interview with law enforcement Jesse Dalton admitted to stealing the vehicle, getting the firearm Friday and defacing the serial number. He also said he planned to have a shootout with police, taking some of them with him.

A wallet containing Dalton’s identification was reportedly found in the vehicle.          

Dalton was first charged with armed criminal action, first-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance after an April 25 incident during which he allegedly fired a gun into an occupied vehicle on Thornburgh Street and continued to shoot several more rounds toward it as he drove away.  

After being booked into jail, Dalton reportedly was found to be in possession of plastic bags containing a white crystalline substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine. 

While jailed on those charges, on May 7, Dalton reportedly was involved in an argument with a fellow inmate and struck the man in the face once, pursued him across the cell and struck him twice more. The inmate reportedly suffered injuries to his nose, lip and jaw. 

On May 9, after jail surveillance footage apparently corroborated the reports, a third-degree assault charge was filed.

First-degree statutory rape and second-degree child molestation charges were filed May 3 following investigation into an alleged Valentine’s Day incident said to have occurred when Dalton was left alone with a child and her younger sibling.   

Deputies reported the sheriff’s office was informed March 6 of possible sexual abuse of a child after the girl’s mother took her to an urgent care facility in West Plains, where she was treated for a vaginal infection. 

On the way home from getting treatment, the child reportedly told her mother Dalton had held her down and sexually assaulted her. Following a forensic and medical examination conducted by the South Central Child Advocacy Center, it was determined the child might have a sexually transmitted infection, which later tests confirmed.

A court-ordered urine sample repeatedly revealed Dalton tested positive for the same infection.

These six charges have been bound over to circuit court with case reviews set for Nov. 19. Judge Don Henry has been assigned after a request was filed for a change of judge by Dalton’s attorney, Jacob Garrett. 

Second-degree drug trafficking and unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a weapon and felony controlled substance, were filed Oct. 15 after Dalton was pulled over by a patrolman while driving a vehicle with expired out-of-state tags. 

After the trooper noticed Dalton behaving erratically a search was conducted on the vehicle and a loaded 9mm handgun with a round in the chamber that had been reported as stolen and a clear baggie containing about 3.03 ounces of a clear crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine was reportedly found. 

First-degree assault, serious injury, and armed criminal action charges were filed Oct. 22 after Dalton allegedly beat a man so badly with a pipe or other object he was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield and admitted for four days.

The alleged victim reportedly suffered a perforated ear drum and blood in the middle ear, plus injuries to his back and left knee. 

The latest seven charges have not yet been bound over to circuit court, according to court records.

Quill Staff Reporter

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