Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Final person charged in Oskaloosa murder

March 15, 2000

In the past 2 1/2 weeks, Jefferson County law enforcement officials have filed charges against five people in connection with the shooting death of a 13-year-old Oskaloosa boy.

On Tuesday, Jefferson County prosecutors filed two counts of furnishing cereal malt beverage to a minor against Mardi Fidler, 26, Oskaloosa. Her first court appearance is set for March 27.

Fidler, the fifth person to be charged in the incident, is accused of providing beer to two youths who were at the home of Dakota "Cody" Back when he was shot and killed on Feb. 27.

Last week, 15-year-old Joshua Stark pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree murder in Back's death. In exchange for the guilty plea, the Jefferson County attorney's office dropped misdemeanor charges of illegal possession of a handgun, theft of a handgun, underage consumption of alcohol and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

His sentencing is set for 11 a.m. April 12. Under the Kansas juvenile code, Stark could be placed in a detention center until six months after his 22nd birthday, according to Vic Braden, assistant Jefferson County attorney.

"The state does not believe that he intended to kill Cody Back," Braden said.

Back was shot and killed early in the morning of Feb. 27 with a 9 mm pistol while he, Stark and two other youths were in Back's bedroom.

"The situation was, in Cody Back's room, there was marijuana present, it was being smoked," Braden said.

"There was drug paraphernalia. It was being used. There were numerous weapons with compatible ammunition. There was the handgun that was being passed around. Josh pointed the 9 millimeter handgun at Cody Back's head and pulled the trigger."

The other two youths also entered guilty pleas last week. Joe Sheley, 18, pleaded guilty to one count of endangering a child and two counts of contributing to a

child's misconduct. Dan Sheley, 16, also pleaded guilty to criminal use of a weapon and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Sentencing for the brothers is scheduled for April 11, Braden said.

Back's mother, Patricia Back, and a man who lived with her, Donovan McCleary, both face misdemeanor charges of endangerment of a child, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and contributing to a child's misconduct. Their first court appearance is set for 9 a.m. March 27, Braden said.

Braden said Tuesday that the charges against Fidler were the last to be filed in the case.

"However, we are reserving the possibility of filing additional charges against those who have not pled yet," he said.

Braden was referring to Back's mother and the man living with her, as well as Fidler.

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