On Thursday, February 13, 2014, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, AMBER ASKINS, d/o/b 3-30-1994, of Branson, entered pleas of guilty to multiple felonies, including burglary in the first degree relating to the abuse of several horses on a farm in Hollister. Askins was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for burglary in the first degree, as well as one (1) year in the county jail for the class A misdemeanor of conspiracy to commit animal abuse.
Around July 27, 2012, a man who was keeping watch on his daughter’s horses noticed there were cuts on the horses, and the horses showed signs of being saddled improperly. Detective Dan Luttrell, of the Taney County Sheriff’s Office responded to the farm in Hollister, and set up a game camera to catch the suspects. The owner of the horses also spent the night in her barn where the horses were kept, in an attempt to catch the suspects who were abusing her horses. On August 4, 2012, Taney County deputies received a call for help to the Hollister address and arrived at the barn. The owner explained that she had seen Askins and other individuals entering the barn. One of the men was seen with a large knife. Video evidence from the game camera footage confirmed the owner’s description of events.
Chris Miles previously pleaded guilty for his role in the burglary and animal abuse conspiracy. Multiple other defendants are awaiting trial relating to this crime.
The maximum sentence for the class B felony of burglary in the first degree is fifteen (15) years in prison. In addition to the charges relating to the abuse of the horses, Askins pleaded guilty to the class D felony of failure to appear and the class D felony of damage to jail property. For each of those charges, Askins received the maximum prison sentence of four (4) years.