3rd suspect sentenced for shooting at Seneca officer

Nelums Kenneth Cecil Edit
Kenneth C. Nelums

NEOSHO, Mo. – A judge sentences a third man for his part in shooting at a Seneca, Missouri police officer.

Kenneth Cecil Nelums, 61, of Picher, Oklahoma, entered an Alford plea this morning in Newton County Circuit Court. Judge Gregory Stremel sentenced him to 18 years for first degree assault and 15 years in prison for unlawful use of a weapon. Nelums will serve the sentences at the same time, spending 18 years in prison.

The courts dismissed a count of armed criminal action as part of the plea.

The Alford Plea entered by the defendant allows him to plea guilty and admit there is sufficient evidence to convict without admitting guilt.

The 2020 Crime

On September 12, 2020, a Seneca, Missouri police officer tried to make a traffic stop. That’s when he saw a back window open and a flash come from the vehicle, followed by bullets hitting the officer’s patrol vehicle.

Three suspects were in the vehicle. It drove off through a fence and into a field where the occupants were able to evade pursuit.

Authorities later found the suspect vehicle. They recovered numerous weapons, spent bullet casings and bullet holes in the tailgate of the vehicle.

Police arrested three suspects.

The Seneca Police Department investigated the case and William Lynch and Sarah Crites, of the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office, prosecuted.


In addition to Nelums’s sentencing, the courts have sentenced two other co-defendants in the case.

Bradley Ray Holms, Jr. pleaded guilty on February 1, 2021. Tony Lucian Helm pleaded guilty on March 5, 2021. A judge sentenced each to 15 years in the Department of Corrections.

“Police are under fire both on the streets and in the media every day. We stand by our officers and we will serve out harsh penalties for those that endanger them,” said Newton County Prosecuting
Attorney William Lynch. “These large sentences should send a message to anyone who would hurt a police officer: it will not be tolerated in Newton County.”

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