FORSYTH, MISSOURI – Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell, announced today that BENJAMIN G. MARQUEZ, DOB: 11-06-1973, of Branson, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday, June 7, 2012, by Circuit Judge Mark Orr to ten (10) years in prison on multiple felony cases.

Marquez was sentenced to ten (10) years for the class B felony of robbery in the second degree and ten (10) years for armed criminal action, stemming from the September 21, 2009, robbery of a resident of the Hillbilly Inn motel in Branson. During that incident, Marquez acted with others to forcibly steal a wallet and pills from someone, using the aid of a bat – which was the basis for the armed criminal action charge.

Marquez was also sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for two (2) different cases of possession of methamphetamine. One case stemmed from Marquez being caught in possession of methamphetamine on October 31, 2009, the other case stemmed from his possession of methamphetamine on December 14, 2011. In each of his two (2) meth possession cases, Marquez was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender. In addition to the ten (10) year sentences, Marquez also pleaded guilty to the class D felony of failure to appear. That charge resulted from Marquez missing his jury trial date on December 12, 2011. Marquez was given the maximum sentence of four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for that offense.

“There were some challenges with a couple of these cases,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell, “so it feels good to have these wrapped-up.” Robbery in the second degree carries a range of punishment of five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in prison. The felony of armed criminal action stems from Marquez using a bat to carry-out his robbery, and the minimum penalty for that offense is three (3) years in prison – there is no maximum sentence for armed criminal action.