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Alleged con-man contractor at large

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Viola man accused of not completing jobs

A Viola man has been charged with four counts of theft of property, all class C felonies after he allegedly received money for construction projects he did not complete.

Officials at the Fulton County Sheriff's Department are searching for 32-year-old Michael Ray Newton.

"He's no contractor, he's a scam contractor," said deputy James Laney of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department.

Laney said three Viola residents -- Sue Billings, Shelly Newbury and Jackie Owens -- contracted Newton to work on their houses.

He said Billings paid Newton $6,441 to repair the roof and replace the siding on her home.

"He (Newton) delivered a little bit of siding material, but didn't do any of the work," Laney said.

Newbury paid Newton $853 to replace her porch, but he never completed the job, Laney said.

He said Newton also received approximately $5,000 to build a room onto Jackie Owens home.

"That job wasn't done either," Laney said.

Authorities in Independence County and Howell County Mo., are also looking for Newton as well, said Fulton County Chief deputy Paul Martin.

He said Newton took money from people in those counties for construction jobs he never completed.

Newton lived in a trailer house on Highway 223 near Viola, but is now on the run, Martin said.

Laney said Newton called the Fulton County Sheriff's Department several weeks ago from Branson, Mo.

"He wanted to know why everybody was mad at him," Laney said. "He told me that he was going to finish those jobs. I tried to get him to come in but we haven't heard from him since."

At the first of the month Newton attempted to open a building supply store in Salem, inside the shop that use to house Dub's Glass Shop on Highway 62/412, Laney said.

The business never opened and the building now has a lease sign on it.

Newton is 5'6 with green eyes and weighs approximately 200 pounds.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Newton should contact the Fulton County Sheriff's Department at 870-895-2601. All calls are confidential.

A Bartlett, Tenn., man was charged July 19 with two felony offenses after a traffic stop on Highway 63 near Mammoth Spring.

John B. Slayton has been charged with terroristic threatening in the first degree, a class D felony; and criminal mischief in the first degree, a class C felony.

Mammoth Spring Police Chief Michael Davis said Slayton was driving erratically and nearly hit an oncoming vehicle.

Davis said he stopped Slayton and issued him a DWI citation.

After being placed in Davis' police car, Slayton kicked out a side window, causing over $1,200 worth of damage, Davis said.

While Slayton was being transported to the Fulton County jail he threatened to kill Davis and Fulton County deputy James Laney, according to the arrest affidavit.

The threats Slayton made against both law officers were audio taped, Davis said.

Slayton posted a $5,000 bond on July 20. He is slated to appear in Fulton County Circuit Court Aug. 17.



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