SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two men have been arrested and charged in connection to the kidnapping and assault of a Springfield murder suspect.

Darrell Wayne Franklin, 33, of Springfield and Joseph Lee Bartels, 37, of Springfield, were arrested on Friday, June 2. Both are charged with three felonies:

  • First-degree assault causing serious physical injury.
  • Armed criminal action.
  • First-degree kidnapping.

According to probable cause statements written by the Springfield Police Department, a man was located in a grassy area on the side of the road near West Nichols Street and Orchard Crest Avenue in Springfield on May 15. He was barely conscious and appeared to have gunshot wounds. Large broken cable ties were found near him.

The court documents go on to say that after he was taken to a local hospital to be treated, law enforcement identified him as the missing suspect of an assault that occurred two days earlier, on May 13. On May 16, that assault would turn into murder when the victim died of his wounds.

May 13: Assault

According to a press release from the SPD, officers were called to a Springfield hospital at 10:40 p.m. on May 13 to investigate a man with stab wounds. The release identified the stabbing victim as Stephen Meyle, 37, of Springfield.

Meyle had been dropped off at a different hospital around 3 a.m. that day. He was transferred due to life-threatening injuries.

May 15: Investigation, kidnapping

Police conducted an investigation into the stabbing victim that led them to determine the assault took place at the 1000 block of East Commercial Street, according to the press release. The crime scene was processed and evidence was collected.

The future murder suspect was found on the side of the road at an unknown time on May 15. The officer who wrote the probable cause statement said that he was actively searching for the suspect when he was found.

The kidnapped suspect would later tell police that he was hiding somewhere after the assault and before his kidnapping, according to the PC statement. He said at some point, he woke up and found he was in the back of a Volvo station wagon. The suspect said he did not know how he got into the vehicle and that he felt groggy, but not like he was on a drug high.

The suspect said Bartels — a man he knew — was driving. There was another man in the vehicle, but he did not know who he was. At one point, Bartels said the second man’s name.

Eventually, the suspect was taken out of the car. The second man pointed a revolver at him, pressing it into his chest. The next memory he had was waking up in a hospital.

May 16: Assault turned murder

The SPD release states that Meyle succumbed to his wounds on May 16 and died at the hospital. The press release, which was sent out on May 16, reported that a potential suspect had been identified and located, but not arrested.

SPD Spokesperson Cris Swaters confirmed that the potential murder suspect is the same man who was the kidnapping victim in the case charging Franklin and Bartels.

The kidnapped suspect identified Bartels and Franklin through a photo lineup.

May 26-June 1: Arrests, conflicting stories

Bartels was contacted on May 26 and brought to the SPD headquarters, according to his PC statement. He told police that someone had figured out where the murder suspect was located and that he met up with two other men — one of them Franklin — to retrieve the suspect in a Volvo station wagon.

Bartels, Franklin and an unknown man contacted the suspect and said they wanted to talk to him. Bartels said the suspect went with them, but admitted that someone in the vehicle bound his hands with cable ties.

The three men asked the suspect what happened in the assault. Bartels told police that he wanted to let the suspect go, but also suggested that they take him to a fourth man. Bartels said that the fourth man took his place in the vehicle. Bartels said he did not continue with them. He also said that he gave a revolver to the fourth man before he left.

Bartels said that eventually, Franklin returned the revolver to him with two rounds fired. He said he threw the revolver into a business’ trash can.

Franklin was arrested on June 1, according to his PC statement. He told police the Volvo was his and that he had driven Bartels and another to meet with the suspect. Franklin said that “things were getting weird” and that he and the third man left the vehicle, leaving Bartels and the fourth man with the Volvo, which he had not seen since.

The two unidentified men, one of which was the shooter and also the murder suspect from the Commercial Street stabbing, have not been charged or arrested.