Kirksville dentist stands trial

Tom Oswald, 85, is serving a seven year prison term after pleading guilty in the related case.

UPDATE Friday, June 3, 3:50 p.m.The jury received the case against Steve Barber Friday in the Adair County Circuit Courtroom.Testimony wrapped up Friday morning after the defendant took the stand.The first witness Friday was Dr. Ronald Phillips of Kirksville. Phillips treated Barber after Barber suffered two strokes in 2008 and 2010. Phillips testified for 40 minutes about how the strokes had affected Barber. Phillips said due to the strokes, Barber had difficulty answering questions, especially long questions that would require detailed answers. Phillips was asked by the prosecution if he had cleared Barber to practice dentistry. Phillips said he sent a letter to the state dental board notifying the board that Barber was "significantly disabled."Following Phillips' testimony, the defendant took the stand. Barber testified he went to see attorney Seth Shumaker at the request of Tom Oswald. Shumaker was representing a couple who alleged Oswald had sexual contact with their teenage son. The prosecution alleges Barber offered $150,000 for the couple to not cooperate with authorities in the case against Oswald. Barber testified he didn't believe he was doing anything illegal.The defense rested after Barber's testimony and again made motions for acquittal on both counts which were overruled.Following closing arguments by both attorneys the case went to the jury at about 3 p.m. Friday.

-----------------------------------------Testimony began Thursday in the trial of 72-year-old Steve Barber. The Kirksville dentist is facing two counts of tampering with a witness.Jury selection ended Thursday morning and was followed by opening arguments. Earlier in the day, the judge overruled a defense motion for a change of venue for the trial. The first witness to take the stand was Kirksville attorney Seth Shumaker who spent nearly three hours testifying. During his testimony, the prosecution played a videotape recorded by Shumaker of a meeting he had with the defendant. The prosecution claims, in that video, the defendant appears to offer $150,000 if Shumaker's clients in the Tom Oswald sex crime case would not cooperate with the prosecution.Oswald, 85, is a former Kirksville attorney. Oswald is serving a seven year prison term after pleading guilty in October 2009 to one charge of second-degree statutory sodomy. Prosecutors said Oswald had inappropriate sexual contact with a Kirksville boy who was 15 years old at the time of the 2007 crime. Oswald was disbarred on May 10, 2010.During cross examination Thursday in the Barber trial, Shumaker testified it was not normal policy to videotape meetings in his office. Shumaker said he decided to videotape that meeting out of paranoia, after he had seen Barber and Oswald socializing several days earlier.Following Shumaker's testimony, Sgt. Steve Wilhoit of the Missouri State Highway Patrol took the stand and testified about his investigation of the incident.Click here for previous story