OTTUMWA — A Wapello County man has pleaded guilty in an attempted murder case, a decision that could have a bearing on trials for two other people.

Shain Major pleaded guilty to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and received a 10-year prison sentence. Charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony were dismissed.

There are two other defendants in the case, and that’s where Major’s plea could come into play.

Stacey Crabbe and Skyler Stokes are also charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors want to try them together. While Stokes has asserted his right to a speedy trial, Crabbe has not.

In late March, Judge Lucy Gamon declined to sever the trials, finding that the potential for evidence against Stokes that would not otherwise be used in Crabbe’s trial does not mean she could not receive a fair trial.

“In any multi-charge or multi-defendant trial, the Court must strike the proper balance between ensuring the defendant a fair trial and preserving judicial efficiency,” Gamon wrote in her ruling. “Balancing these two goals as they apply in this case … Crabbe has not carried her burden to show that the prejudice which results from joinder outweighs the State’s interest in judicial economy.”

In other area cases:

Walter Jones appears headed toward a plea agreement regarding charges of sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child. The court said in an order that the “parties need additional time to confirm the plea agreement.”

There were clear instances of regular court proceedings being altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several cases are scheduled for pretrial hearings via conference call, rather than appearances in court.

In the case of Kendra Hoover, sentencing following her guilty plea may not mean a court appearance, either.

Hoover faced multiple charges after prosecutors said she continued to leave a 6-year-old girl with a man she knew had abused the girl. The man, Steven Crook Jr., received a 120-year sentence in federal prison for his acts.

Hoover’s plea agreement includes guilty pleas to two counts of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, a Class C felony. The agreement calls for consecutive, 10-year suspended prison sentences. Hoover will be on probation for five years.

Judge Greg Milani said in an order the sentence could be imposed through a telephone or video conference if the parties in the case agree.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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