Monroe City woman pleads not guilty to charges of unlawful use of weapon, tampering with judicial officer

Stephanie O'Connor

Stephanie O'Connor | Photo courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff's Department

MONROE CITY, Mo. — A Monroe City woman pled not guilty on Wednesday to one count of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of tampering with a judicial officer.

Stephanie L. O’Connor, 48, was arraigned in Monroe County Circuit Court by Judge Michael Wilson. She appeared by video without an attorney. However, James D. McConnell of Shelbina filed an entry of appearance Thursday for O’Connor, who is lodged in the Randolph County Jail in Huntsville on a no bond warrant.

“Given the nature of the charges and the defendant’s unrestrained animosity toward a number of persons in the county legal system, the court finds that no bond can guarantee the safety and security of the community at this time,” Wilson wrote after the hearing.

O’Connor’s next appearance in court will be Tuesday morning.

A probable cause statement filed by Zach James, chief of the Monroe City Police Department, said the department received at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday multiple reports of O’Connor with an AR-15 style rifle near her apartment at 110 Court, one block away from Monroe City Junior High School. She was observed screaming, and people making the report believed O’Connor may have needed help.

As officers began arriving on the scene, O’Connor was heard yelling threats against the Monroe City Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, specific Monroe City police officers and Judge Talley Smith, an associate judge in Monroe County.

O’Connor was observed entering her residence, then exiting the building with the AR-15 style weapon and a bag of ammunition. She continued to yell and make threats. The reporting parties said O’Connor was behaving erratically at the time and believed her threats were credible. One witness said O’Connor made the threat that “she had a gun, and she will use it.”

O’Connor then returned to her apartment and was heard screaming. Tenants in other apartments were escorted from the area for their safety. Officers tried to contact O’Connor, and she opened the door to her apartment several times, shouting obscenities about Smith and the Monroe City Police Department.

Officers with the Monroe City Police Department and deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department approached O’Connor’s apartment to make contact. She answered from inside her home and said she had an AR-15 with her. After an extensive conversation with law enforcement, O’Connor opened the door to her home and allowed deputies to take possession of the AR-15. 

She was taken into custody by deputies at approximately 5:03 p.m., then transported to the Monroe City Police Department. She continued to yell and scream at law enforcement.

A clear plastic bag of ammunition was found inside the home. It contained five boxes with 93 rounds of Wolf .223 Rem 55 Gr. FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) Steel Case ammunition. 

The charge of tampering with a judicial officer is a Class D felony, punishable for a term of up to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or up to one year in the county jail. O’Connor also could be fined up to $10,000 if found guilty.

“Making threats against a judge is a very serious offense,” said Nicole Volkert, prosecuting attorney for Monroe County.

The charge of unlawful use of a weapon is a Class E felony, punishable for between one and four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or up to one year in the county jail. O’Connor also could be fined up to $10,000 if found guilty. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The chief of the Monroe City Police Department was misidentified in a previous version of this story.

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