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December 11, 2017

On Friday, December 8, 2017, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell spoke to attendees at the Second Annual “A Heart for Children” fundraiser, benefitting the Lakes Area Child Advocacy Center. Merrell’s introductory comments focused on the importance of services provided by the Lakes Area Child Advocacy Center – located in Branson West, Missouri – in assisting children who may have seen or experienced trauma.

The main program for the evening was presented by professional speaker and musician Monte Selby, in conjunction with his brother, Stone County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Selby. The event was held at the Clarion Hotel, in Branson, for the second consecutive year. The Lakes Area Child Advocacy Center sees over 200 children per year, providing forensic interviews and – in some circumstances – medical examinations.

If you would like to know more about the Lakes Area Child Advocacy Center please visit their website at: https://www.lacac.com/


Topics: News |


November 28, 2017

JUSTIN DEAN JACKSON, d/o/b 12-20-1989, of Springfield, Missouri, was sentenced to four (4) years in prison Tuesday, November 28, 2017, after pleading guilty to the class E felony of resisting a lawful stop. Jackson entered a guilty plea before Taney County Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams on Tuesday, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jackson was operating a motorcycle northbound on U.S. Highway 65, in the late evening hours of September 4, 2017, when a Trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Jackson fled from the Trooper – reaching speeds as fast as 100 miles per hour – in an attempt to avoid the traffic stop. The high-speed chase led into Christian County, where Jackson was ultimately apprehended. Jackson was driving without a valid license, and had felony warrants from Greene County, Missouri.

The class E felony of resisting a lawful stop carries a maximum penalty of up to four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine of up to $10,000.00.

Topics: News, Press Releases |


November 27, 2017

On Monday, November 27, 2017, GARY DEAN PHILP (DOB: 7/10/65) of Branson, Missouri, was found guilty of the felonies of distribution of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute, and delivery of drug paraphernalia following a jury trial. A nine (9) man, three (3) woman jury deliberated for a little less than an hour before reaching its verdict. Taney County Circuit Judge Tony W. Williams set sentencing in the case for March 20, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistant Prosecutors Tony Brown and Chris Lebeck presented evidence that on August 4, 2016, an officer with the COMET Drug Task Force received a tip that PHILP was selling methamphetamine out of his hotel room at the Plantation Inn, in Branson. The officer made contact with PHILP at the hotel and was sold what was purported to be one (1) gram of methamphetamine for $100.00. The substance was confirmed to be 0.6 gram of methamphetamine by a criminalist at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab.

Ordinarily, distribution of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance would be a class B felony, punishable by between five (5) and fifteen (15) years in prison. However, PHILP was found to be a prior and persistent felony offender – having committed two (2) felonies at different times – enhancing his range of punishment for these offenses to up to thirty (30) years or life in prison. Delivery of drug paraphernalia carries a maximum, enhanced punishment of seven (7) years in prison. PHILP is facing a maximum of sixty-seven (67) years in the Department of Corrections, relating to these crimes.

Furthermore, at the time this offense was committed, PHILP was on felony probation for two (2) counts of tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree and aggravated stalking, and is currently serving a ten (10) year sentence for those offenses – his probation having been revoked.

Topics: Press Releases |


October 27, 2017

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, CHRIS BORGES-BESARES, d/o/b 8-03-1996, of Branson, was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for the class A felony of robbery in the first degree, in Taney County Circuit Court. Judge Eric Eighmy sentenced Borges-Besares, having previously accepted the guilty plea on August 10, 2017. On October 12, 2017, Judge Eighmy also sentenced Juan Rodriguez, of Puerto Rico – a co-defendant of Borges-Besares – to ten (10) years in prison.

Borges-Besares and Rodriguez both admitted, by guilty plea, to robbing the Dalton’s Express, in Branson, on December 15, 2016. They – along with a third man, Jorge Ortez-Velez – entered the Dalton’s Express store with loaded guns and threatened the clerk and a customer in the business. They made off with $502 in cash and were caught a short time later thanks to the quick response of the Branson Police Department.

Ortez-Velez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 2, 2018. The class A felony of robbery in the first degree carries a range of punishment from ten (10) years up to thirty (30) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Topics: News, Press Releases |

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