Shoplifter pulls box cutter on Walmart worker, authorities say

By Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate February 04, 2013 06:15 pm

Attempted murder charge was recently dismissed by DA for lack of evidence

A local man who recently had an attempted murder charge dismissed against him was arrested this week after allegedly pulling a box cutter on Walmart employees.

Joseph A. Fletcher, 48, was confronted by Walmart staff Tuesday who suspected he was stealing merchandise,  said sheriff’s Commander Tim Athey. Fletcher pulled out a box cutter and threatened to cut them if they didn’t “back off,” Athey said.

Fletcher fled the store heading east into nearby brush as responding deputies yelled for him to stop, but he kept running, Athey said.

They caught up to him in a swampy area and arrested him on suspicion of assault, robbery, criminal threats, exhibiting a deadly weapon and resisting law enforcement.

Deputies also located a backpack filled with gloves, memory cards, women’s jeans, and other items Fletcher is suspected of stealing from the store, Athey said.

An attempted murder charge was dismissed against Fletcher in December after the District Attorney’s Office decided there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute him, court documents state.

The charge stemmed from a disagreement about motorcycle repairs Fletcher was expected to perform for Tye Barker in August, according to court documents.

An altercation ensued in Shangri La Trailer Park, where both men live. Fletcher walked away stating he was going to get a gun, then returned with a knife and stabbed Barker in the chest, court documents state.

Fletcher fled the scene and wasn’t apprehended until October, when Josephine County authorities found him in a Cave Junction motel.

Barker was treated for a stab wound at Sutter Coast Hospital and released shortly after.

Deputies found a knife that was allegedly used in the altercation that was being held by a neighbor after Fletcher asked his girlfriend to stash it, documents state.

There were also two witness, a cousin and friend of Barker’s, who stated they saw Fletcher stab him, court documents state.

Documents also state Fletcher claimed to be acting in self-defense and that Barker was the one to bring the knife to the fight.

Barker testified at the preliminary hearing that he remembered very little after being struck in the head during the initial altercation.

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