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Stinson Pleads Guilty To Stealing from Christian School

By Ellis Codjoe, September 14, 2017

An Ottumwa woman will avoid a potentially lengthy prison term after pleading guilty to one count of first degree theft.

Forty-one year old Joni Stinson of Ottumwa appeared in the Wapello County Courthouse on Monday where she pleaded guilty to stealing money from the Ottumwa Christian School. Three other felony charges will be dismissed as a result of the agreement.

Stinson was arrested last October after a new bookkeeper discovered approximately $160,000 missing from the school’s accounts. In all, Stinson wrote and cashed 230 checks over a six year period beginning in 2010.

Stinson is expected to receive a 10 year suspended prison sentence. A suspended sentence means Stinson will not be required to serve time in prison so long as she maintains good standing with her probation officer and does not get into further trouble with law enforcement.

She’s also been ordered to repay much of the money stolen from the school.

She was ordered to repay $50,000 of the stolen money immediately, while the remaining balance will be paid off on an installment plan.

Stinson was the school’s treasurer at the time of the thefts. Her crimes were uncovered after a new treasurer discovered discrepancies in past financial documents.

Stinson will be formally sentenced on January 25th, 2018.

In other courthouse news, the trial of an Ottumwa man accused of first degree arson and assault on a police officer has been delayed until January.

Mike Heady SR. was charged in November, 2016 following a June, 2016 incident at his home.

Heady allegedly lit a fire in his home while several others were inside. He then went to the street in front of the home and began shooting at the house with a rifle.

He later went back inside the still burning home.

He was shot by police officers after he exited the home, appearing to raise a rifle toward officers.

Heady had originally been scheduled to go to trial beginning on October 24th, 2017. His trial has now been delayed until January 9th, 2018.

This is the second time Heady’s trial has been continued to a later date.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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