6 people indicted in kidnapping, death of Missouri man

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Six people have been indicted in the kidnapping and death of a man whose body was found in a wooded area southwest of Joplin last year.

Federal prosecutors announced Friday that a federal grand jury indicted Freddie L. Tilton, 48, of Joplin, in the kidnapping and shooting of 41-year-old Michael James Hall, with the help of the five other defendants, The Joplin Globe reported.

Those besides Tilton named in the indictment are Carla Jo Ward, 47, of Joplin; Amy Kay Thomas, 38, of Webb City; James B. Gibson, 39, of Neosho; Lawrence W. Vaughan, 49, of rural Newton County; and Russell E. Hurtt, 49, of Greenwood.

Prosecutors allege Ward picked up Hall and took him to Vaughn's home on July 15, 2020. Hall was handcuffed, cut with a knife and beaten before he was shot, prosecutors said. His body was then taken to property Hurtt owns southwest of Joplin. 

When officers arrived to serve a search warrant at the property on July 28, 2020, someone inside the home shot at them, police said, prompting a standoff that ended when SWAT teams fired tear gas into the house and Tilton emerged.

Hall's body was then found in woods on the property.