Two Howell County residents have each been charged with four felonies after allegedly being part of a scheme to assault and rob a man in Oregon County, leaving him with a possible concussion from being struck with a blunt object.
Wayne M. Sechrest, 23, Mtn. View, is held without bail on charges of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, first-degree assault or attempted assault, and stealing by physically taking.
A warrant has been issued for Melissa Jacobson, 33, Willow Springs, on the same charges, according to court records. Her bond has been set at $150,000.
Oregon County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jordan Reed reported at about 8 p.m. Friday he was on patrol and was dispatched to the area of west U.S. 160 and County Road 303 outside of Alton.
A woman reported that a man who appeared to have been assaulted had knocked on her door, and after she did not allow him into the house, he left on foot toward the highway.
Reed reported he found the alleged victim sitting in the grass off of the highway just east of County Road 303, with a cut or gash on his right cheek that was about 3 inches long.
The man said he had been in his pickup truck with Sechrest and he drove to County Road 303 after Sechrest asked him to under the pretense of picking up Sechrest’s girlfriend, Melissa Jacobson.
Once they were at the location, Sechrest reportedly asked to be dropped off; after the vehicle was stopped, he allegedly took the victim’s keys and struck him multiple times, including in the head, with what appeared to be a baseball bat.
The man told Reed he had been knocked down and stunned during the assault, and that’s where the cut on his face had come from. He further stated Jacobson arrived with a man driving a blue car and Sechrest left with them.
Reed located the alleged victim’s truck, parked on County Road 303 with with the windshield shattered and both rear tires flattened. Reed said he also noticed there were items scattered on the ground around the truck as if it had been ransacked, and the radio and a subwoofer had been removed.
When Alton Police Officer Randy Vater went to a home in Alton where the victim had said Sechrest and Jacobson might be, he reportedly saw a vehicle matching the victim’s description, but the property owner denied the two were there.
After learning Sechrest and Jacobson were being sought for questioning regarding an incident of shooting in Shannon County, Reed, Deputy Trent Hutchens and Alton Police Officer Michael Bunting returned to the home.
The homeowner first denied the two were there and denied Reed consent to search the property to confirm that information, then reportedly admitted Sechrest and Jacobson were there after Reed explained the reason he believed they were in the home.
Sechrest and Jacobson were interviewed separately by law enforcement, records show. Jacobson allegedly admitted she had gone with someone to pick Sechrest up the night before on County Road 303 but at first denied knowledge of an assault, property damage or any other crime.
Sechrest, who knew the victim and initially denied seeing him for the past few days at first, then said the victim had dropped him off at the location the night before but denied any knowledge of an assault, Reed reported.
Reed noted Sechrest changed his story several times during the questioning, but after his arrest Sechrest and Jacobson began blaming each other for the crimes. In texts and Facebook messages sent between Sechrest and Jacobson, Reed observed it appeared the two were discussing the crime, including each other’s locations and an apparent warning to Sechrest to leave the victim’s truck because law enforcement was looking for it.
Jacobson reportedly told Reed where an ax handle was hidden in the home, and when found, it had the appearance of a baseball bat and was seized as evidence.
Damages to the alleged victim’s vehicle and stolen items including four sub-woofers, a stereo, amplifier, a 20-inch Husqvarna chainsaw and a Straight Talk iPhone 7, amounted to about $3,090 in value.
In his report to prosecutors Reed stated Sechrest’s criminal background included convictions of second-degree assault and first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle in in 2015 in Howell County and a conviction of possession of a controlled substance in 2016 in Shannon County.
Reed noted Sechrest is currently on probation.