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BRANSON MAN SENTENCED FOR MARCH 2015 CRIME SPREE

January 27, 2016

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Merrell, announced today that JAMES SCOTT RASH, DOB: 1/10/1971, of Branson, was sentenced on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, to ten (10) years in prison by Judge Eric Eighmy, in the Taney County Circuit Court. Rash’s sentence was part of a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office that required Rash to plead guilty to six (6) counts of class C felony stealing, receive six (6) concurrent ten (10) year prison sentences, and agree to be responsible for over $53,000.00 in restitution to victims.

On March 5, 2015, Branson Police were called to investigate the burglary of several Branson businesses. Footprints left in the snow leading from one burglary scene to the Hall of Fame Motel, directed officers to James Rash. Further investigation led police to discover that Rash was trespassing in a room at the Hall of Fame Motel. On March 26, 2015, Branson Police were able to question Rash, at which time he confessed to burglarizing several businesses and vending machines in Branson and Rogersville.

Because Rash is going to the Missouri Department of Corrections, he will likely be unable to pay any of the restitution owed until he is paroled back to the community. If that happens, restitution payments will be a condition of Rash’s parole.

Rash’s stealing charges were class C felonies, which normally carry a maximum sentence of up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine. However, Rash was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender, which enhanced his maximum punishment to that of a B felony – up to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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DAVID JACKSON, JR. SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR FELONIES

January 22, 2016

DAVID A. JACKSON, JR., d/o/b 7-16-1987, of Branson, was sentenced to two (2) prison terms on Thursday, January 21, 2016, by Associate Circuit Court Judge Eric Eighmy. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Jackson pled guilty to the class C felony of receiving stolen property and the class D felony of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident – receiving sentences of five (5) years and four (4) years, respectively. Jackson’s sentences are to run concurrently.

Jackson was caught in a Branson motel room on the night of September 16, 2014, with property he had just stolen from the Branson West Wal-Mart. Also in the motel room was Kenneth Woods, who possessed methamphetamine with the intent of distributing it. Woods was previously sentenced to ten (10) years in prison stemming from that September 16, 2014, arrest.

Then, on July 12, 2015, while awaiting trial on his receiving stolen property case, Jackson was the driver of a car that was in a crash on Main Street, in Branson. Jackson fled the scene of that crash on foot, but was identified by witnesses who were in the car with Jackson, as well as by other motorists.

A class C felony carries a maximum penalty of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine. A class D felony carries a maximum penalty of four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

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BRANSON WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ENDANGERING INJURED CHILD

January 8, 2016

On Thursday, January 7, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, ALEXA R. SMITH, d/o/b/ 6-24-1994, of Branson, entered a plea of guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, without a plea agreement. Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson accepted Smith’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for March 17, 2016.

The evidence in the case against Smith was that she had observed her husband, Bryan Matlock, abuse their two-month-old son in the weeks leading up to August 26, 2015. Then, on August 26, 2015, emergency personnel were called to respond to treat the unresponsive child for injuries. Smith had left her son with Matlock that day while she went to work – despite having seen Matlock previously abuse the child. Matlock initially told deputies with the Taney County Sheriff’s Office that he had accidentally fallen on the child. Later, however, Matlock admitted to intentionally injuring the child out of anger that the child would not stop crying.

Endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree is a class C felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a fine of $5,000.00. Because she has no plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Smith could receive the maximum possible sentence.

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BOWMAN SENTENCED TO EIGHT (8) YEARS IN PRISON FOR DRUG POSSESSION

December 21, 2015

MICHAEL WAYNE BOWMAN, d/o/b 8-31-1982, of Hollister, was sentenced on Thursday, December 17, 2015, to eight (8) years in prison for two (2) separate incidents of possession of drugs. Bowman appeared in the Circuit Court of Taney County, Missouri, before Judge Eric Eighmy, and entered pleas of guilty to four (4) total counts of the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance. Judge Eighmy sentenced Bowman to concurrent sentences of eight (8) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

Bowman was arrested on October 2, 2014, by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, following a routine traffic stop for expired registration. While lab testing was being done on the drugs seized during that arrest, Bowman was arrested by Branson Police on January 7, 2015, for outstanding warrants. While being booked into the jail, Bowman was discovered to be in possession of multiple controlled substances. On Thursday, December 17, 2015, Bowman pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of possession of methamphetamine, one (1) count of possession of hydrocodone, and one (1) count of possession of methadone, receiving eight (8) year sentences on each.

Bowman’s sentences will run concurrently with one another, as well as concurrently with a seven (7) year prison sentence he received for felony driving while license revoked. Normally the maximum sentence for the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance is seven (7) years in prison, however, the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office had charged Bowman as a prior and persistent felony offender – for having multiple prior felony convictions.

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