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October 24, 2018

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, CHRISTOPHER AXTELL, d/o/b 4-21-1972, of Branson, entered guilty pleas to trafficking drugs in the second degree, two (2) counts of delivery of a controlled substance, and two (2) counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Associate Circuit Judge Eric Eighmy accepted Axtell’s guilty pleas and sentenced Axtell to twenty (20) years in prison for trafficking drugs in the second degree, and ten (10) years in prison for each of the other counts, pursuant to Axtell’s plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. Axtell’s sentences are to run concurrently.

The charges stemmed from an investigation by narcotics investigators with the Branson Police Department, which led to the execution of a search warrant at a home on Wilshire Drive, in Branson, on February 2, 2018. Investigators determined that Axtell had been distributing drugs from that address, and upon searching the residence Branson Police discovered large amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, and narcotics edibles hidden in the home. Axtell cooperated with Branson Police in opening a safe he had in the residence. In a safe with some of the narcotics were two (2) handguns – which Axtell was prohibited from possessing, due to already being a convicted felon.

Axtell was charged by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office as a prior and persistent felony offender, due to having at least two (2) prior felony convictions. Axtell was also charged as a prior and persistent drug offender, which enhanced Axtell’s possible maximum sentence to a term of imprisonment not to exceed thirty (30) years or life.

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October 17, 2018

On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, a Taney County jury found PATRICK E. MALONE, d/o/b 8-26-1970, guilty of three (3) felonies relating to Malone’s acts of domestic violence toward his girlfriend in 2017. The jury deliberated for just over one hour before returning verdicts of guilty on the charges of domestic assault in the second degree, domestic assault in the first degree, and kidnapping in the second degree. Taney County Associate Circuit Court Judge Eric Eighmy presided over the trial and scheduled Malone’s sentencing for December 20, 2018. Malone remains in custody pending sentencing.

The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of October 6, 2017, at the Rowland Motel, in Branson, where Malone’s girlfriend was visiting him. At just before 8 a.m. that morning, a patrol officer with the Branson Police Department observed a woman with obvious injuries to her face walking on the roadway. The officer stopped to assist the woman, but she was reluctant to explain how she had received the injuries. Eventually, the woman described how Malone had beaten her face and head with his fists, had kept her from leaving his motel room, and had sat on her neck while she was pinned on the floor. She received medical care at Cox Emergency Department, in Branson. When contacted by Branson Police officers, Malone gave varying stories about what had occurred.

Malone was charged by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office as a prior and persistent felony offender, meaning he has been previously convicted of two (2) or more felony offenses. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shana Mora tried the case for the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. Domestic assault in the second degree and kidnapping in the second degree are both class D felonies, which normally carry up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. However, as a prior and persistent felony offender, Malone faces a maximum of ten (10) years, instead of seven (7) years, on each of those charges. Domestic assault in the first degree is a class A felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to thirty (30) years or life in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The jury found Malone not guilty of one count of domestic assault in the first degree and one count of armed criminal action.

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October 10, 2018

BRANDY B. SHADDOX, d/o/b 12-08-1977, of Hollister, was sentenced on Wednesday morning, October 10, 2018, in the Circuit Court of Lawrence County, for the November 2015 murder of Larry Adams, in Taney County, Missouri. Lawrence County Circuit Judge Jack Goodman sentenced Shaddox to life in prison without parole for the crime of murder in the first degree, to another term of life for the class A felony of assault in the first degree, to twenty (20) years for the felony of armed criminal action, to fifteen (15) years for the class B felony of kidnapping, and to four (4) years for the class D felony of forgery. Judge Goodman ordered all of the sentences to run consecutively with one another.

Shaddox had been found guilty by a Lawrence County jury of all those charges on July 27, 2018, following a week-long trial. The case was tried by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, but was moved to Lawrence County on a change of venue requested by Shaddox and her lawyers. The charges stemmed from crimes committed in November of 2015, when Shaddox – with the assistance of Mark Bailey – purchased cable ties at a local home improvement store; called 72-year old Larry Adams, of Hollister, to a storage facility; assaulted Adams with a flashlight; bound Adams’s hands and feet with the cable ties; drove him to a remote location off Highway 65 in Walnut Shade, Missouri; and then left the victim bound in a car. Adams died of hypothermia after being abandoned by Shaddox and Bailey, and his body was discovered on November 14, 2015.

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October 9, 2018

On Monday night, October 8, 2018, the Crisis Center of Taney County presented the 22nd Annual Candlelight Vigil in recognition of the fact that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The event was held at the Community Presbyterian Church, in Forsyth, and several members of the community – along with Crisis Center staff – attended. Among the other portions of the program, Forsyth Mayor Eddie Coleman presented a formal proclamation from the City of Forsyth; Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell delivered the keynote address; Aaron Dunn played guitar and sang an opening song and a closing song; and Dennis Winzenried, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church, received the Crisis Center’s “Aggregate Award”.

The Crisis Center of Taney County serves victims, survivors, and others affected by domestic violence – including operating a shelter for those leaving abusive relationships, in operation since 1990. Executive Director of the Crisis Center of Taney County, Inc., Becky Vermeire, in her address to the audience, pointed-out that two-out-of-every-three domestic violence victims seeking shelter in Missouri are turned-away due to lack of space in shelters. This is primarily due to critical shortages of funding.

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