A 19-year-old from Pleasant Hill accused of assaulting and holding a gun at a girl’s head is facing multiple charges in Cass County Circuit Court.
The Cass County prosecutor’s office charged Austin. D. Sheets with trespassing in March. Two months later, Sheets was charged with more serious offenses, including second-degree domestic assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Additional charges were filed July 1, including first-degree sodomy or attempted sodomy, second- and third-degree domestic assault and misdemeanor violation of a child protection order.
The charges stem from alleged incidents involving a 15-year-old girl.
A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Sheets in the circuit court.
Three probable cause statements filed in circuit court describe multiple alleged incidents of physical and sexual abuse as well as trespassing.
According to a probable cause statement filed March 25, Deputy Bryan Lerch from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office was called out to a home near Pleasant Hill for a reported trespassing. The mother of a female juvenile told authorities she found Sheets hiding around the corner outside her home after hearing a light knock on the windows.
The woman told the deputy that Sheets had been asked to stay off the property several times in the past. The defendant was not on scene by the time a deputy arrived. Sheets allegedly fled after the woman called 911; however, authorities say while they were on scene, Sheets called the woman and her daughter at least six times. The deputy said he had told Sheets to stay off the property and not contact the woman or her daughter, per the woman’s request.
Sheets allegedly told the deputy he had gone to the house to get his phone charger from the juvenile and “to hopefully get a kiss and hug.” He also told authorities the juvenile was “his girl and he just wanted to talk.”
Records show Sheets was taken into custody that day for trespassing. He was released on his own recognizance.
In the statement, the deputy expressed concerns that Sheets wouldn’t appear in court “because he has fled from law enforcement in the past and lied about his whereabouts during the investigation of this incident.” The deputy also said he believed Sheets posed a danger to the juvenile and her mother because of the defendant’s alleged repeated attempts to go to the home and contact the juvenile.
Less than two months later, Sheets was taken into custody again after allegedly assaulting the female juvenile and pointing a gun at her head.
According to a probable cause statement filed May 16, a friend told police she had driven the juvenile to Sheets’ home in Pleasant Hill after he allegedly threatened to kill the juvenile’s family and himself. When the friend reached Sheets’ residence, she said Sheets opened the door, pulled the juvenile from the vehicle and pushed the juvenile into the garage, “pulling her by the hair.” The friend said Sheets locked the garage door, and she could hear the juvenile “screaming in the garage.”
According to court records, the juvenile told police that Sheets “pulled a silver handgun out of his pants and cocked it, holding it to her head,” and then put the gun away. The juvenile also said Sheets choked her and hit her with a closed fist. The juvenile said Sheets told her he was “sorry” and wanted to help clean the blood from her head. When Sheets left the room, the juvenile told police she ran outside back to her friend’s vehicle. The friend said she observed the juvenile “sprinting out of the front door with her shoes in her hand and blood dripping from her face.”
The friend and the juvenile said Sheets chased after them, holding the gun in his hand. The two drove away north a few miles out of the city to a convenience store.
The probable cause statement said the juvenile had apparent injuries to her back, arms, neck and face. Sheets was arrested on May 16 by Pleasant Hill police and booked into the jail, one day after the incident.
The prosecuting attorney’s office recently filed more charges against Sheets in a third case investigated by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.
In another probable cause statement filed July 1, Corporal Michael Bridgforth of the sheriff’s office wrote that a deputy noticed bruises on the juvenile’s arms on May 8. The deputy said he was investigating a reported violation of a full order of protection on May 8 after the family said Sheets had been contacting the juvenile through text messages and phone calls. The protection order was filed March 27. When asked about the bruises, the girl alleged that Sheets had hit her and strangled her until she passed out. A deputy took photos of the bruises and scratches shown on the girl.
The girl also told authorities she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Sheets, and described multiple instances of Sheets hitting and choking her, including two times the defendant reportedly hit her until she participated in a sexual act. The alleged incidents took place between February and April.
Prior to charges filed recently in Cass County, online court records show Sheets pleaded guilty in 2016 to three counts of misdemeanor theft in Jackson County and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation. The probation was suspended in June.
An attorney listed for Sheets did not respond to a request for comment.
Sheets has remained in the Cass County jail since May 16 with bail set at $25,000.