Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Merrell, announced today that PHILLIP FRIEND, DOB: 8/28/1986, of Kansas City, Missouri, – and formerly of Springfield, Missouri, – entered a guilty plea Thursday morning, May 16, 2013, to four (4) felonies, in the Taney County Circuit Court. Friend pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of murder in the second degree and two (2) counts of felonious restraint. Pursuant to a plea agreement between Phillip Friend and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, two (2) counts of armed criminal action were dismissed. Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr accepted Friend’s guilty plea, sentencing Friend to seven (7) years in prison for each of the two (2) counts of felonious restraint. Sentencing on the two (2) counts of murder has been continued to a future date, not yet determined. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Friend’s sentences are to be concurrent.
Phillip Friend had previously been charged with two (2) counts of murder in the first degree for his role in the disappearance and deaths of Russell and Rebecca Porter, of Willard, Missouri, occurring April 18, 2011. Phillip’s father, Tony Friend, still faces first-degree murder charges, along with Dusty Hicks, Robert Campbell, and Tony Friend’s wife, Windy Friend.
Murder in the second degree carries a range of punishment of ten (10) years to thirty (30) years or life in prison. Felonious restraint has a maximum penalty of up to seven (7) years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.