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BRANSON MAN SENTENCED FOR TANEY COUNTY MURDER

August 4, 2018

On Friday afternoon, August 3, 2018, DAKOTA CLAYPOLE, d/o/b 7-15-1995, of Branson, was sentenced to twenty-one (21) years in prison for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri. Claypole’s case had been moved to Greene County on a change of venue from Taney County, and on May 4, 2018, Claypole had pleaded guilty to the felonies before Circuit Judge Calvin Holden.

Claypole’s charges stemmed from a shooting on January 16, 2017, at a residence on Rainbow Drive, in Branson. Taney County Sheriff deputies responded to the residence and discovered Daxton Drake, age 22 years, had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Drake was pronounced dead at the scene. A witness – who was romantically involved with both Claypole and Drake – explained that she and Drake were in bed together when Claypole walked up the stairs leading into the bedroom, and brandished a handgun. Claypole verbally confronted Drake and fired a gunshot in his direction. Then, Drake stood up and Claypole fired multiple gunshots into Drake, killing him. Claypole fled the residence driving Drake’s automobile and was arrested by Highway Patrol Troopers and Branson Police Officers a few miles away.

“Law enforcement officers did an excellent job the night of January 16, 2017, of apprehending the murder suspect in very short order,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “This was important to the success of the investigation, as well in assuring community safety. I’m very proud of the work done by officers and investigators in solving this murder.”

Specifically, Judge Holden sentenced Claypole to twenty-one (21) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for second-degree murder, and twenty-one (21) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for armed criminal action, with the sentences to run concurrently with one another. The class A felony of murder in the second degree carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years or life imprisonment – with the possibility of parole. The unclassified felony of armed criminal action carries a minimum sentence of three (3) years in prison, with no maximum.

Topics: News, Press Releases |

JAMES KEELER PLEADS GUILTY THE DAY OF TRIAL TO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM

August 3, 2018

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that James Leslie Keeler d/o/b 7-13-1966 of Ridgedale, Missouri plead guilty without a plea agreement today to the class D felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon as a prior and persistent felony offender. He was set to begin a bench trial this morning in front of Taney County Circuit Judge Tony Williams. Formal sentencing is set for October 2, 2018 at 9:00am.

On February 15, 2018 during a traffic stop in the City of Hollister, JAMES KEELER was arrested and during a search of his person officers discovered .22 ammo in his pocket. During a search of his vehicle, officers found a .22 Browning “Buck Mark” pistol hiding in a coat in the back seat along with a loaded magazine in the pocket. JAMES KEELER is a convicted felon with previous convictions for felony assault and felony possession of ephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

As a prior and persistent felony offender JAMES KEELER faces the range of punishment for that of a class C felony for this offense.  The range punishment for a class C felony is imprisonment in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections for a term of years not less than three (3) years and not to exceed ten (10) years; or by imprisonment for a special term not to exceed one (1) year in the county jail or other authorized penal institution; or by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or by both imprisonment and a fine.

Topics: News |

DARIUS SMITH PLEADS GUILTY TO COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY CHARGE

August 2, 2018

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell announced today that DARIUS SMITH d/o/b 1-12-1995 of Branson, Missouri entered a plea of guilty Tuesday to the class D felony of forgery in the Circuit Court of Taney County, Missouri. Formal sentencing is set for October 16, 2018 at 9:00am.

On July 7, 2017, Deputy Gene Piveral with the Taney County Sheriff’s Department stopped an Oldsmobile for driving on the shoulder of Business 65 in Hollister, Missouri. During the traffic stop Deputy Piveral learned that the vehicle was stolen out of Springfield, Missouri. DARIUS SMITH was arrested and during a search of the vehicle seven-hundred and fifty (750) dollars in counterfeit currency was found in the center console.

The range of punishment for a class D felony is imprisonment in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections for a term of years not to exceed seven (7) years; or by imprisonment for a special term not to exceed one (1) year in the county jail or other authorized penal institution; or by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or by both imprisonment and a fine.

Topics: News |

CODY WRY PLEADS GUILTY TO LYING TO COPS THE DAY OF TRIAL

August 2, 2018

CODY WRY d/o/b 3-10-1992 of Forsyth, Missouri plead guilty without an agreement Tuesday to the class B misdemeanors of making a false declaration and making a false report in front of Taney County Associate Circuit Judge Tiffany Yarnell. Formal sentencing is set for October 4, 2018.

On April 28, 2018 Cody Wry made a police report and filled out a statement with the Taney County Sheriff’s office that he had stopped his vehicle at the intersection of Strawberry and Forsyth-Taneyville Road. He advised law enforcement that a male opened his door, pointed a gun at him and ordered him to get over or get out. Due to a young child in the car, CODY WRY moved over to the passenger seat and sometime later the vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a tree. CODY WRY was shown a photo lineup and identified another individual as the person that pointed a gun at him, stole the car and crashed it into a tree. CODY WRY later admitted he made up the story due to his drug use and fear that he would lose his license.

The range of punishment for each of the class B misdemeanors of making a false declaration and making a false report is imprisonment in the county jail or other authorized penal institution for a term not to exceed six (6) months; by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000); or by both imprisonment and a fine.

Topics: News |


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