A Howell County couple arrested late last week on charges related to an alleged assault near Alton have now been charged with assault and weapons charges in Shannon County after investigation into a separate incident.

Melissa Jacobson, 33, Willow Springs, is held in Oregon County on $150,000 bail on charges of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, first-degree assault or attempted assault and stealing by physically taking.

After allegedly shooting a rifle into an occupied vehicle Dec. 29, injuring two people with bird shot, she was charged with two counts of first-degree assault resulting in a serious injury and two counts of armed criminal action. Bond has been denied in those cases, according to court records.

Wayne M. Sechrest, 23, Mtn. View, was held without bail on charges of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, first-degree assault or attempted assault and stealing by physically taking, and is now also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and stealing a firearm.

Bond was denied on those charges as well.  

Shannon County Deputy Dustin Lyon reported in court documents that on Dec. 29 he was at the sheriff’s department taking a report of a vehicle stolen from a home in Birch Tree. While taking the report, he received a phone call regarding a woman being treated for a gunshot wound at Mercy St. Francis Hospital in Mtn. View.

Lyon said he requested a Mtn. View police officer go and take a statement from the injured woman, and Assistant Chief Stetson Schwien responded. The woman reportedly told Schwien that the night before she and another person were picked up at their home by Sechrest, who was driving a gold-colored vehicle, and dropped off in Birch Tree.   

A short time later, the woman reported, Sechrest picked them up driving a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle reported earlier as stolen.

The woman told Schwien that, as she and the other victim were being driven back to their home, Sechrest pulled into a driveway to turn around, where they were confronted by Jacobson, who shot through the back right side window of the vehicle.

She reported that she, the other passenger and Sechrest were struck by the blast.

According to Lyon, the woman was struck in the shoulder with glass and apparent bird shot, and the other passenger was struck in the back of the neck and right cheek.

Lyon reported the apparent bird shot is too dangerous to remove from under the skin of the alleged victims, per hospital recommendation.

According to the alleged victims, Sechrest was also struck in the back. The two told law enforcement that Sechrest was a friend they had known for a while, and said Sechrest told them both vehicles he was driving that day belonged to friends of his.

Additionally, they reported Sechrest left a .223-caliber rifle at their house when he picked them up, and confirmed the black SUV he was driving matched a photo of the vehicle reported stolen.

A Harrington and Richardson .223-caliber rifle was among the items listed as being in the SUV when it was stolen, but when it was found at the house, the serial number had been almost entirely filed off. The owner of the vehicle told Lyon the serial number was intact before the SUV was stolen.  

Sechrest was convicted in Howell County in 2015 of tampering with a motor vehicle, a felony, and is barred from having a firearm. He was also convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2016 in Shannon County.

On Friday in Oregon County, Sechrest and Jacobson were allegedly involved in the assault of a man and a subsequent theft and damage to his vehicle.

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 after a report that a man who appeared to have been assaulted showed up at a home asking for help.

Reed reported he found the alleged victim sitting in the grass off of the highway with a cut or gash on his right cheek 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 Jacobson. Once they were at the location, Sechrest reportedly asked to be dropped off and, after the vehicle was stopped, took the man’s keys and struck him multiple times, including in the head, with what appeared to be a baseball bat.

Reed reportedly found the alleged victim’s truck, parked on County Road 303 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 stated Sechrest and Jacobson might be, he saw a vehicle matching the description the victim had given, but the homeowner denied the two were there.

After learning Sechrest and Jacobson were being sought for questioning regarding the shooting incident in Shannon County, Deputy Trent Hutchens and Alton Police Officer Michael Bunting returned to the home, where, they reported, the homeowner again denied the two were there and refused consent to a search of the property.

After Reed explained why officers wanted to find Sechrest and Jacobson, the homeowner then reportedly admitted the two were there, after all.  

Sechrest and Jacobson were interviewed separately by law enforcement and 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.

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 incident as it was happening, including each other’s locations and what appears to be a warning to Sechrest to get away from 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.

Damages to the alleged victim’s vehicle and stolen items including four subwoofers, a stereo, amplifier, a 20-inch Husqvarna chainsaw and a Straight Talk iPhone 7, amounted to about $3,090 in value.

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