Jesse Dalton

A West Plains man awaiting trial on several felonies is now charged after allegedly beating a Howell County man with a pipe or other object, hurting him badly enough to be airlifted to a Springfield hospital and admitted for four days. 

Jesse Dee Dalton, 19, BB Highway, is charged with first-degree assault, serious injury, and armed criminal action. 

Howell County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Justin Riley reported at about 2 a.m. Oct. 22, deputies Darren Spangler and Seth Smith responded to an assault at a home on County Road 3810. 

The alleged victim was reportedly transported by ambulance to Ozarks Medical Center, then airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield.

The victim told Howell County Sheriff’s Investigator Justin Riley a woman who had lived in the home where he was assaulted had been kicked out and told not to come back. However, she returned later that evening with Dalton. 

When the victim walked outside he reportedly saw the woman and Dalton and then he was struck in the back of the head by an unknown person with an unknown object as he stepped outside the door. He said Dalton struck him with a pipe or other object. 

A witness who was hiding in the house during the alleged assault told Spangler they heard Dalton demand property from the victim after the attack.  

The victim told deputies he was hospitalized for four days and medical records obtained from both hospitals showed a perforated ear drum and the presence of blood in the tympanic cavity of the middle ear and swelling and bruises to the left knee and back. 

Dalton also faces charges of first-degree statutory rape or attempted statutory rape and second-degree child molestation involving a child less than 12 years old after allegedly sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in February, plus a third-degree assault charge when Dalton reportedly attacked a fellow inmate.

He was released Sept. 7 when he posted a $100,000 surety bond on the charges of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and possession of a controlled substance, and on his own recognizance on the sexual assault and third-degree assault charges.



He was again arrested Oct. 14 on charges of second-degree drug trafficking and unlawful use of a weapon, about five weeks after he was released from jail on charges of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and possession of a controlled substance. 

Court records show he posted $50,000 bond and was released Oct. 22, the day of the alleged assault. 

Tpr. M. Chastain of Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported Oct. 14 he stopped an eastbound Chevrolet Tahoe on U.S. 60 by Dalton after seeing Dalton’s vehicle approach his patrol car from behind, then slow down.

Chastain said he slowed his patrol car, and as the Chevrolet passed him, he saw it had a license plate from Utah. The trooper said he saw the driver raise his arm and shoulder in an apparent attempt to cover his face. 

After observing the license plates had expired in August, Chastain pulled the vehicle over.

Dalton reportedly told the trooper he did not have a valid license or insurance and title for the vehicle, and Chastain noted Dalton looked “extremely nervous,” with erratic movements and rapid breathing.

Chastain reported Dalton continued to behave strangely during their interaction and told the trooper he had just gotten out of jail and didn’t want to go back, reportedly mentioning the armed criminal action and first-degree assault charges. 

Chastain said Dalton then denied permission to search the vehicle and the trooper called for Willow Springs Police Department K9 Officer Matt Foster to perform a search.

After the K9 unit conducted a “free air” sniff of the Chevrolet, Chastain was given the go-ahead to conduct a search. In the center console, the trooper found a McDonald’s bag containing a loaded 9mm handgun with a round in the chamber and a clear baggie containing about 3.03 ounces of a clear crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine.

The gun had been reported stolen from Republic, said Chastain. Dalton reportedly denied the substance was his but apparently later admitted he knew it was in the vehicle. After Chastain told Dalton he was transporting him to Howell County Jail, Dalton informed him he “ate something,” but didn’t know what.

After Chastain called an ambulance, he reported, Dalton told him he was kidding and lying, then refused treatment when the ambulance arrived.




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

Howell County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Justin Riley reported the office received a report 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, 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.

The child’s mother evidently allowed him to stay in her home from Feb. 13 through Feb. 15. She told Riley she was called in to work for about 5.5 hours the evening of Feb. 14, and that was the only time Dalton was left alone with the children.      



Regarding the assault and armed criminal action charges, Dalton was arrested April 25 in West Plains and charged April 27 after allegedly firing a gun into a vehicle on Thornburgh Street and continuing to shoot several more rounds toward the vehicle as he drove away.

Robert Halfacre reported on April 25 he drove on Minnesota Avenue and Dalton followed him in a vehicle belonging to someone else. Halfacre told West Plains Police Officer Kyle Parrish he was driving toward Fifth Street to pick up his child when he noticed the vehicle following him. 

When he was eastbound on Thornburgh Street, Halfacre said the vehicle pulled alongside his and Dalton pointed a silver handgun at him and fired a shot which penetrated the driver’s side door.

Dalton then reportedly fled, firing several more shots from the vehicle, none striking Halfacre or his vehicle.  

While searching for shell casings around Thornburgh Street, the officer said he saw a red Pontiac Grand Prix with the license plate number matching the registration to the person Halfacre named. 

Parrish conducted a traffic stop and detained Dalton, a woman driving the vehicle and the woman who owned the vehicle, who was riding in the back seat. 

The car’s owner gave consent to search the vehicle and a glass smoking device with a thick white residue was found in the front passenger seat where Dalton was sitting, according to Parrish. Parrish said he recognized the device as one commonly used to smoke methamphetamine. 

Parrish reported Officer Trent Kinder located a .45-caliber Winchester automatic shell casing in the rear passenger side floorboard. One of the women reportedly told Parrish that Dalton had thrown a gun from the vehicle prior to being pulled over.

A gun, a Haskel .45-caliber pistol, was reportedly later found on the north side of Girdley Street, with a magazine found nearby. Inside the firearm, officers said, a round was loaded that was similar to the shell casing found in the vehicle.

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.

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.

Quill Staff Reporter

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