• Last modified 820 days ago (July 2, 2020)


Police dodge a bullet
in standoff

Staff writer

A standoff with a fugitive from Ohio holed up in his mother’s house Sunday evening was lucky not to have escalated further than it did, Marion police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.

“There were a million different scenarios that could have happened,” he said. “We could have gotten into a gun-fight with them. They could have taken their own lives, or fled and gotten to another residence.”

Matthew L. Bice, 36, and Julie E. Starks, 38, both of Marion, Ohio, holed up more than two hours in the 500 block of N. Cedar St. in Marion. Getting them out required a Harvey County emergency response team as well as officers from Marion police, and the sheriff’s department.

There were two reasons for so much caution: The property owner was afraid to go back in her residence, and a firearm might have been in the house.

“We didn’t really have any other options than to get them out of the residence at that time,” Jeffrey said. “The police department could have gone into the residence and gotten them out of there, but that may have forced them to do something they wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t.”

Bice and Starks were arrested after law enforcement entered the home. Neither used physical resistance, Jeffrey said.

Marion police first noticed suspicious activity at the home at 6 p.m. and found a vehicle with Arizona registration that had been reported stolen out of Marion, Ohio on the property.

A gun, which reportedly was in the vehicle when it was stolen, was never found, Jeffrey said.

“They could have ditched it, sold it, or hidden it better than we could find,” he said.

After several unsuccessful attempts to convince Bice and Starks to come out, Harvey County was contacted and arrived at 8:05 p.m.

Bice was arrested on suspicion of interference with law enforcement and had outstanding felony warrants out of Harvey County, as well as Springfield, Missouri.

Starks, a former Marion County resident, was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon, and interference with law enforcement, and had outstanding felony warrants from Marion County and Harvey County.

While it has a different area code, some phone numbers in Marion, Ohio, begin with 382-, similar to Marion, Kansas.

Reports at a second location on S. 4th St. were for an unrelated welfare check.

Last modified July 2, 2020