Murder charge reduced to manslaughter in plea deal for Rolette County suspect

Crime Tracker

A man from Rolette County has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and three other charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors in Northeast District Court.

Fifty-one-year-old Ronald Wootan appeared in Rolette County Court Tuesday afternoon. The Rolla man is accused of shooting and killing Joe Pochant, then shooting at law enforcement during an eight-hour standoff in July of 2018.

Wootan had initially pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, terrorizing, reckless endangerment and preventing arrest.

In a change of plea hearing Tuesday, he agreed to pleading guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and aggravated assault instead of murder and attempted murder, respectively.

He also pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and preventing arrest. The charge of terrorizing was dismissed.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.

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