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Bassett-Saunchegrow case sent to state attorney general's office

DIXON, Mo. (Feb. 7, 2011) — Following numerous accusations of biased enforcement and the failure of a special prosecutor to show up in court that led to two different judges dismissing cases, a long-running dispute between a Dixon businessman and a retired union worker has been turned over to the Missouri Attorney General’s office for investigation and possible prosecution.

The case between Arnold Bassett, 68, the owner of Bassett Realty, and Dale Saunchegrow, 58, centers on a property dispute and led to accusations that Bassett tried to run over Saunchegrow’s riding lawnmower, leading to Saunchgrow shooting bullets into Bassett’s pickup. All local judges declined to hear the case and former Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Hooper turned the case over to a special prosecutor, Michael A. Anderson of Texas County, who repeatedly failed to show up in court in Pulaski County, leading to dismissal of the charges. Hooper noted in court documents filed last summer that she attends Westside Baptist Church along with Arnold Bassett’s son Brent Bassett, who is now the Pulaski County Clerk but at the time of the incident, was in a tight three-way race for the Republican nomination for that position.

“Upon my request, the cases involving the alleged ramming of a lawnmower and the subsequent shooting that occurred this summer in the Dogpatch area of Dixon have been referred to the Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office for review and possible prosecution,” said Pulaski County Prosecutor Kevin Hillman in a prepared statement issued Monday morning.

“This action was taken at the request of the sheriff and both parties involved. The other cases involving these individuals and their families remain with the previously appointed special prosecutor,” Hillman wrote. “Both Sheriff (J.B.) King and I remain concerned about this ongoing dispute and hope that this independent review and action may bring about resolution of this matter. It is or sincere hope that no further acts of violence occur and both sides will use the legal system to resolve all of their differences.”

Stories about what happened on the night of April 29 differ significantly.

What isn’t disputed, according to documents filed by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department with the circuit court, is that Bassett once faced Class C felony charges of second degree assault accusing him of using his pickup truck to try to run over Saunchegrow, who was riding a lawnmower on property south of Dixon which Saunchegrow claims he needs to access as the designated representative of a private water company. Until the charges were dismissed on Jan. 26 because the special prosecutor didn’t show up until after the judge had called up the case for a hearing, Bassett could have received seven years in state prison or a $5,000 fine if convicted.

For his part, Saunchegrow once faced Class B felony charges of first degree assault and armed criminal accusing him of knowingly attempting to cause serious injury to Bassett by shooting a firearm into the truck being driven by Bassett. Until a different judge dismissed those charges after Anderson failed to show up for a Sept. 15 hearing, Saunchegrow could have faced five to 15 years in state prison for that offense, plus an additional five years for the armed criminal action felony; he still faces Class A misdemeanor charges accusing him of violating ex-parte no-contact orders barring him from contact with members of the Bassett family.

Anderson will continue to handle the still-pending charges of violating the no-contact order.

The state attorney general’s office isn’t bound by the prior charges and their lawyers could file entirely different charges against one or both sides in the Bassett-Saunchegrow dispute, or might even choose not to file any charges at all.

Related articles

Special prosecutor still a no-show in ongoing Bassett-Saunchegrow case
Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2011
THIS ARTICLE: Bassett-Saunchegrow case sent to state attorney general's office
Posted: Monday, February 7, 2011 3:24 pm
Special prosecutor doesn't show up; charges on Arnold Bassett dismissed
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Dixon businessman's pickup truck shot after ramming riding lawnmower
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 9:52 pm

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