VERNON CHRISTIAN, dob: 5/11/1938 of Kirbyville, Missouri was found guilty today after a two day jury trial of the class C felony of forgery. A jury of eight (8) men, four (4) women deliberated a little over an hour before reaching their verdict this afternoon.

In November of 2007, a property owner on Gunnison Road called the Taney County Collector’s Office to find out about his property tax bill because he did not recieve one for that year. From the collector’s office he learned that he did not own his property anymore and that the land had been deeded to the defendant, VERNON CHRISTIAN. From an investigation by the Taney County Sheriff’s Department it was learned that on November 22, 2006, VERNON CHRISTIAN had forged the signature of the property owner and recorded a fradulent deed with the Taney County Recorder of Deeds. In preparation for trial, a handwriting analysis was ordered by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office and the forged signature showed significant similarities to VERNON CHRISTIAN’S handwriting.

In response to the verdict, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell stated, “[u]nfortunately, Taney County is in one of the busiest judicial circuits in Missouri and it took a long time for this case to reach trial. I am grateful for the victim’s patience in seeing this case through, and I am also thankful for the willingness of Associate Circuit Judge Tony Williams in hearing this case on a special setting so that the victim can finally receive√ā¬†closure after three very long years waiting for trial.”

Formal sentencing is set for January 25, 2010 at 1:00pm in front of Taney County Associate Circuit Judge Tony Williams. The class C felony of forgery has a range of punishment of one (1) day to one (1) year in the Taney County Jail or one (1) year to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.