Neighbors’ fight over trash can leaves woman hospitalized, two in jail

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Battery suspects

DE SOTO, MO (KPLR) - A neighborhood dispute over an outdoor trash can and a children's ball game in De Soto ended with a woman struck in the head with a baseball bat, police said.

It happened around 8:20 pm in the alley behind the 800 block of North 3rd.

Witnesses said the sound of that attack, a terrible thud, might be most haunting thing of all.

Jacob Kelley, 27, and his girlfriend, Melinda Warden, 28, are in custody Wednesday.

Kelley’s accused of swinging the bat and landing what witnesses feared was a fatal blow to the head of Christina Goebel, 33.

“Just that sound and her lifeless and limp body hitting the ground, I’m never ever going to forget it.  It’s something you’d out of a movie,” said Goebel’s friend and roommate, Jake Turner.

Turner was working on a car behind the house.  Their children were playing ball.

Kelley was at his grandmother’s house across the alley, incensed at kids playing ball and someone moving his grandmother’s garbage can, Turner said.

“It was some kind of silly dispute over a trash can.  I’m not sure of all the particulars.  It started and kind of escalated from there,” said De Soto Police Captain Dan Contarini.

Goebel’s friend Dennis Woodson showed up to help Turner work on the car.
Kelley had taken the bat from one of the children and seemed crazed, Woodson said.

Still, Woodson never expected what happened next.

“He started making a lunge towards [Goebel]. I didn’t know what he was thinking.  I ran up around beside her and was reaching and he just swung and he hit her, hit her right in the face.  She started to fall over right by my car,” Woodson said, breaking down into tears.

Kelley and Warden are both charged with two counts of assault and armed criminal action.

Warden is also charged with marijuana possession.

She started kicking Woodson and Goebel, Woodson said.

Goebel had “come to” just before an EMS crew rushed to her a hospital.

“I held [Kelley] there with the bat.  I looked over and his girlfriend was over there kicking her while she was down.  She was on her knees and she had spit coming out of her mouth and she was throwing up,” Woodson said, again in tears.

“First words out of her mouth was, ‘did they get the guy who hit me with the bat?” Turner said.

Bail is $50,000 cash only for both suspects.

Goebel remains in critical condition Wednesday night.  She was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital.

She's was alert and talking after surgery to relieve pressure on her brain from blood and swelling, friends said.

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