Sean A. Green and Vernon Dale Parker Jr. could face life in prison for first degree assault charges.
Two more men were charged this week in connection with the robbery and assault of an 82-year-old Pulaski County man.
On Wednesday, Vernon Dale Parker Jr., 43, of Fulton, and Shawn A. Green, 33, of Waynesville, were charged with several felonies for the July 24 assault in a Swedeborg area home.
Parker and Green were each charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, two counts of stealing a firearm, theft and felonious restraint.
Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said victim Robert Willhite was alone on July 24 and bound to his wheelchair when several people broke into his home and severely beat him.
Deputies were dispatched to Willhite's residence on Highway on July 25 after his van was found on a farmer's property.
When deputies arrived and approached the home, they heard a man screaming for help from inside. Deputies found Willhite lying on the floor with his hands and feet bound by duct tape. He was partially clothed, and his eyes were swollen shut from the beatings.
Long reported several collectible coins valued at approximately $5,000, along with two AR-15 rifles valued at $3,000, had been stolen from the victim's home.
On July 28, deputies learned that a woman named Jessica Berry, 24, of Dixon, was in possession of the stolen coins. Berry told police in a written statement she was told by others involved that Parker “took the theft too far by beating the old man.”
She went on to tell law enforcement that every time Willhite moved or made a sound, Parker hit him. Berry also said that Roby Sapere, 57, of Richland, drove her and another man by the residence before the incident, pointing out Willhite's home and telling them that was “the house.”
Berry was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.
Sapere has been charged with burglary and first-degree assault causing serious physical injury.
Thomas York, 35, of Dixon, has also been arrested and charged in this case. York is facing seven charges including first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, felonious restraint, two counts of theft/stealing of a firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was identified from video surveillance tape from a local store after deputies tracked down the bar code on a pry bar found at the scene believed to be purchased from the store.
According to York's statement to police, Green said that the “old man wouldn't stop fighting and cussing at him.” York said that Green “continued to talk about why the old man must have fought him so much because of his military background.” A box of shotgun shells from Willhite's residence was located at Green's mother's home.
However, Berry told police that both she and Green acted as a lookout during the incident at Willhite’s residence.
Parker admitted to being involved in the theft, but did go into detail about beating Willhite, according to a probable cause statement.
Another suspect in connection to this case, Melissa Winkle, 34, of Crocker, was charged last week with possessing burglary tools and receiving stolen property.
Parker and Green could both face life in prison if convicted. Parker is currently being held at the Missouri Department of Corrections. Green is in the Pulaski County Jail.
Parker was also wanted for multiple burglaries and robberies with Ashley Sugget, who led Pulaski County deputies on a high-speed chase that caused multiple collisions in June. Long said that when deputies were searching for Parker they found an explosive device allegedly made by Parker to deter arresting police officers.
The Daily Guide spoke with Robert Willhite's daughter, Linda, on Friday morning. Robert moved to Life Care Center of Waynesville this week from the hospital. She said that her father's condition is slightly improving and she asks the community to continue to pray for her father. They are accepting visitors but they must check in at the front desk.
Robert Willhite has been in this community since the early 1960s. He served in the Navy for many years and is a Korean War veteran. He owned several businesses in the community throughout the years and is an active member of the Pulaski County Shrine Club.