March 27, 2017
TIFFANY D. NELSON, d/o/b 9-22-1985, of Branson, was sentenced on Monday, March 27, 2017, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, to seven (7) years in prison for the class C felony of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree. Christian County Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson sentenced Nelson following Nelson’s guilty plea on January 25, 2017. There was no plea agreement between Nelson and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office as to what sentence Nelson would receive. The class C felony of endangering the welfare of a child carries a maximum possible sentence of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.
The felony charge stemmed from a call for emergency medical assistance that was needed for a sixteen-month-old child at an apartment on Cannonball Loop, in Branson, on July 31, 2015. The child was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where doctors determined that the child had suffered multiple serious, non-accidental injuries to his head and face. When questioned, Nelson’s live-in boyfriend, Joshua Holler, told investigators that he had tripped and fallen on the child while Holler was vacuuming the floor in the apartment, on July 28, 2015. Holler’s explanation did not match the injuries to the child, according to the child’s doctors. On the morning of July 31, 2015, Nelson awakened to find her child un-responsive in his bed. The State was prepared to present evidence at a trial that Nelson was aware that Holler had been physically abusing the child, and that Nelson waited approximately three (3) hours before calling 9-1-1 for medical help on the morning of July 31, 2015.
Holler was sentenced to serve twelve (12) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for child abuse, on August 5, 2016.
March 23, 2017
DREW P. GREEN (d/o/b 9-08-1986), formerly of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, to statutory rape in the second degree, a class C felony, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Taney County Judge Eric Eighmy sentenced Green to five (5) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, pursuant to a plea agreement. Because the crime of statutory rape in the second degree is a class C felony, it carries a maximum penalty of seven (7) years in prison.
Green was charged with having sexual intercourse with a fifteen (15) year-old girl, in late-September through early-October of 2016, while staying at the girls’ mother’s home in Branson. Green was alleged to have run away from Las Vegas with the fifteen-year-old, and had been residing in Branson for only about three (3) weeks. When questioned on October 11, 2016, about his relationship with the underage girl, Green admitted to Taney County deputies that he had a sexual relationship with her.
March 22, 2017
On Wednesday afternoon, March 22, 2017, JERRY JOHN “J.J.” NORTON, d/o/b 10/27/1981 – formerly of Greene County, Missouri – entered a guilty plea to five (5) felonies, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Taney County Judge Eric Eighmy accepted Norton’s guilty plea and set sentencing for Monday afternoon, March 27, 2017. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s office, Norton is to be sentenced to twenty-five (25) years in prison.
Norton pleaded guilty to one (1) count of murder in the second degree, two (2) counts of armed criminal action, and one (1) count each of assault in the second degree and tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree. Norton’s guilty pleas came just days before he was scheduled to stand trial for the stabbing death of his girlfriend that had occurred on December 10, 2014, at the Westwood Inn, in Branson.
On the afternoon of December 10, 2014, Norton had cut a housekeeper at the Westwood Inn with a knife when the housekeeper attempted to check on the well-being of Norton’s girlfriend in their motel room, after hearing screams. A Branson Police officer responded to the Westwood Inn, on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway, and upon arrival found Norton behaving erratically. When the officer proceeded to check on the well-being of Norton’s girlfriend in the motel room, Norton drove-off in the officer’s patrol vehicle. After driving a short distance to the motel’s office, Norton stopped, exited the patrol vehicle and collapsed on the ground where he was arrested. Norton’s girlfriend was discovered unresponsive in the motel room, having suffered obvious stab wounds. She was later declared deceased on the scene by Taney County Coroner Kevin Tweedy.
The maximum sentence for murder in the second degree is life in prison – with the possibility of parole. “Life” is calculated by the Missouri Department of Corrections as thirty (30) years. There is no statutory maximum sentence for the crimes of armed criminal action. The maximum sentence for assault in the second degree and for tampering with a motor vehicle in the first degree is seven (7) years in prison. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Norton’s sentences on the five (5) felonies are to be concurrent.
March 2, 2017
KIMBERLY K. COOK, d/o/b 7-27-1968, of Springfield, Missouri, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, to the class A felony of robbery in the first degree, the class B felony of robbery in the second degree, and two unclassified felonies of armed criminal action. Judge Laura Johnson accepted Cook’s guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing date for June 16, 2017. A sentencing assessment report was ordered. Prior to the plea, the case had been scheduled for a jury trial on March 27, 2017.
All charges in this case stemmed from a pair of robberies committed by Cook on October 2, 2014, in the City of Branson. Cook first robbed a woman of her car in the parking lot of a local business. Cook then drove the car to a motel and robbed an employee of cash belonging to the motel. During both robberies, Cook was armed with a knife. Branson police officers caught Cook later the same day, and he was found to be in possession of a knife, the stolen cash, and the keys to the stolen vehicle. Detectives Nathan Arnett and Sean Barnwell led the investigation.
The class A felony of robbery in the first degree carries a potential prison sentence of between 10 and 30 years, or life with the possibility of parole. The class B felony of robbery in the second degree carries a sentence of between 5 and 15 years in prison. The felonies of armed criminal action carry a minimum of 3 years in prison and have no upper maximum. Cook was charged as a persistent felony offender due to his prior convictions for robbery, attempted robbery, leaving the scene of an accident, and aggravated battery. The State made no agreement for a specific sentence, but will ask the Court for concurrent sentences of 25 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
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