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July 13, 2018

On Thursday, July 12, 2018, MICHAEL S. TYSON, d/o/b 11-14-1975, of Hollister, was sentenced to twenty (20) years in prison in the Circuit Court of Taney County, Missouri, for one count of statutory sodomy in the first degree, one count of statutory rape in the first degree, eight (8) counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child, and one count of possession of child pornography, consecutive to a federal sentence. In April of this year, Tyson appeared in custody before Christian County Circuit Judge Jennifer Growcock and admitted to having sexual intercourse and committing acts of sodomy on a minor child. On Thursday, Judge Growcock heard sentencing arguments from Tyson’s attorney and from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Shana Mora, of the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, before she ordered Tyson to serve his prison sentence for the State of Missouri consecutive to his current federal sentence of thirty (30) years.

On April 7, 2015, officers from the Hollister Police Department responded to Cox Hospital in reference to a report of a past child molestation. The responding officer made contact with the mother of the child who advised the officer that her child had disclosed that Tyson, the mother’s boyfriend, had been hurting the child. The mother further discovered that Tyson had also been sexually abusing the child. A few days later the child was interviewed at the Lakes Area Child Advocacy Center. During that interview, the child disclosed that Tyson had engaged in several acts of sodomy and rape. The child also disclosed that Tyson recorded some of these incidents on his phone.

On April 10, 2015, based on the disclosures of the child, officers from the Hollister Police Department executed a search warrant at Tyson’s residence. During the search of the residence, officers found an abundance of sex toys and several electronic devices. Detective Sanders of the Hollister Police Department sent those electronic devices to MOCIC (Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center) for review. Analysts at MOCIC later advised Detective Sanders that several images and videos of child pornography were found on Tyson’s electronic devices.

“I could not be more proud of how Ms. Mora represented this office in sentencing, and how she represented the citizens of Taney County throughout the course of handling this case,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “We were not about to budge on the fact that Mr. Tyson should have to serve consecutive prison time, on top of his federal prison sentence. The victims deserve whatever peace-of-mind might come from knowing their abuser is staying in custody for as long as possible.”

Topics: News, Press Releases |


June 22, 2018

On Friday morning, June 22, 2018, TIFFANY LEANN EPPS, d/o/b 11-29-1984, of Branson, entered a guilty plea without an agreement to the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, the class D felony of possession of a controlled substance, and the class E felony of driving while license revoked. Epps was set for a bench trial before the Honorable Tony W. Williams today and entered her plea before the trial could begin. Judge Williams set Epps’ sentencing for September 11, 2018.

The plea stemmed from a drug investigation conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on February 7, 2017. Troopers had reliable information that drugs were being kept and sold at a house occupied by Epps in the Branson area. Epps was seen leaving the residence and was stopped for a separate traffic violation when it was discovered her license was revoked. Epps was arrested and found in possession of half a gram of methamphetamine. Troopers subsequently acquired a search warrant for her home and found over 60 grams of methamphetamine along with scales and baggies inside the residence.

A class C felony carries a range of punishment between three (3) and ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, plus possible fines. Possession of a controlled substance carries between two (2) and seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, and driving while revoked carries a maximum of four (4) years in the Department of Corrections.

Topics: News |


June 21, 2018

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DAISY M. MARKS (DOB: 2/26/1988) of Branson, Missouri, was found guilty of the felonies of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the second degree. Circuit Judge Tony W. Williams announced the verdict today, after considering evidence presented earlier this year in a two-day bench trial by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Kondro. Formal sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2018.

At trial, the evidence presented by the prosecution showed that Marks recklessly caused a fatal car crash on March 20, 2016, while driving approximately 35 miles per hour over the speed limit on a city street in Branson. As a result of the crash, a three year-old girl died. Her grandmother was left with permanent and serious injuries.

On the afternoon of March 20, Marks had been driving eastbound on Gretna Road, east of Roark Valley, where the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour. Marks abruptly accelerated while entering a curve in close proximity to other traffic, and lost control of her vehicle. She crossed into an adjacent lane, striking the victims’ vehicle from the side and pushing them across a median. The victims’ vehicle was then struck by oncoming traffic.  Data collected from Marks’s 2014 Corvette after the crash indicated that Marks had pushed the gas pedal to 99% of its maximum extension, reached a speed of approximately 75 miles per hour, and had not braked in the seconds before the collision.

Sgt. Stanley Kauffman of the Branson Police Department led the crash investigation, with vital and substantial assistance from Sgt. Scott Richardson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Both the police department and Patrol devoted many hours to collecting and analyzing data from the crash scene and the vehicles involved. Their work continued through the trial, which ended on April 6, 2018.

Under the law in 2016, involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, and assault in the second degree, are both class C felonies. The range of punishment for a class C felony is a sentence of two (2) to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, or up to one (1) year in the county jail, or a fine of up to $5,000, or a combination of fine and imprisonment.


Topics: News |


June 7, 2018

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that Curtis E. Mosby, d/o/b 11-27-1958, entered an “open plea” of guilty, on the eve of trial, to the class B felony of driving while intoxicated and the class D felony of driving while license revoked – both as a prior and persistent felony offender. Curtis E. Mosby was set to begin a two-day jury trial today in the Circuit Court of Taney County. An “open plea” of guilty means there is no agreement with the prosecutor as to what sentence Mosby will receive. Formal sentencing is set for August 28, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.

On May 14, 2016 at approximately 1:00 a.m., Trooper Kyle Copeland with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, while on patrol, observed a vehicle cross the fog line then run off the road to the right and continue driving on Missouri Highway 165 at Green Mountain Drive. Trooper Copeland, who was concerned for safety of other drivers, stopped the vehicle at Missouri Highway 76 at Presley’s Country Jubilee. Trooper Copeland made contact with the driver, Curtis Mosby. The Trooper observed a strong odor of intoxicating beverages coming from the vehicle and Mr. Mosby’s eyes were watery, bloodshot and glassy. Mr. Mosby’s speech was slurred, mumbling and confused, and he was covered in slober. After submitting to a battery of Standardized Field Sobriety tests administerd by Trooper Copeland, Mr. Mosby was arrested for driving while intoxicated and driving while license revoked. Mosby was then transported to the Taney County Jail, where he submitted to a breath which showed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .150 – almost two times the presumed legal limit in Missouri.  During Trooper Copeland’s investigation it was learned that Mr. Mosby had six prior driving while intoxicated convictions and his license was revoked with a 10-year denial.

In response to the plea Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell said,  “I am grateful that Taney County’s roads are patroled by law enforcement officers like Trooper Copeland. This was a great victory for the safety of our community. With Trooper Copeland’s solid policework, we were able to hold a chronic offender accountable for his continued disregard for the safety of others on Missouri roadways.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminsitration (NHTSA), twenty-eight (28) percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2016 were the result of alcohol impaired driving. 10,467 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, resulting in an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 50 minutes. According to the same study, alcohol imparment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was 3.3 times higher at night than during the day (30% versus 9%), and a 2009 study by NHTSA revealed that midnight to 3:00 a.m. is the most dangerous time to be on the road for drivers, as 66% of all fatalities during that time were the result of alcohol impairment.

Charged as a chronic DWI offender and a prior and persistent felony offender, Curtis Mosby faces a up to thirty (30) years or life imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections for driving while intoxicated, and up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for driving while license revoked.

This case was prosecuted on behalf of Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Merrell by Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher W. Lebeck and Legal Intern Scottie Bowden.

Topics: News |

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