On Thursday, April 16, 2015, JACOB “JAKE” KEMP, d/o/b 1-29-1994, of Cross Timbers, Missouri, entered guilty pleas in the Circuit Court of Taney County, to two (2) class A felonies of robbery in the first degree. Judge Laura Johnson accepted Kemp’s guilty pleas and scheduled sentencing to be argued on June 11, 2015. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Kemp’s sentence in each count will be capped at twenty (20) years in prison.

Kemp’s charges stem from two (2) armed robberies of Wal-Mart stores in Branson, occurring about twelve (12) hours apart, on September 20, 2013. Branson police were alerted to a robbery that happened just after 2 a.m. at the Wal-Mart store on Branson Hills Parkway, where a young man in his twenties showed a clerk what appeared to be a handgun, demanded cash and a carton of cigarettes, and fled. Later that same afternoon, Branson police were notified of a robbery at the Wal-Mart store on Highwy 76, where a man showed a gun and made off with cash from the automotive department. Based upon descriptions of witnesses and surveillance video, the suspect appeared to be the same in both robberies.

Eventually – thanks to the cooperation of several law enforcement agencies, as well as Kemp’s companions – Kemp was identified as the suspect, located at the Greene County jail, and questioned about the robberies. Kemp made admissions to a Branson Police detective about his motive for committing the robberies, and confirmed with the detective that the gun he showed the Wal-Mart clerks at each store was not real, and was merely a prop.

Each of these class A felonies carries a range of punishment from ten (10) years to thirty (30) years or life in the Missouri Department of Corrections.