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May 20, 2016

JERRY E. HUTCHASON, d/o/b 11-14-1966, of Branson, was sentenced on Thursday, May 19, 2016, to five (5) years in prison for possession of a short-barreled shotgun, a class C felony. Taney County Associate Circuit Court Judge Eric Eighmy accepted Hutchason’s guilty plea and sentenced Hutchason pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

On April 11, 2016, Branson Police responded to an apartment at 2438 Fall Creek Road, to investigate a domestic disturbance involving a firearm. Police arrived, made contact with the complaining witness, and coaxed Hutchason out of the apartment. A shotgun with a 14-inch barrel – showing obvious signs of having been sawed-down from a longer length – was recovered from where Hutchason had been sitting inside the apartment. A barrel length of less than 18-inches, or an overall length of less than 23-inches for a shotgun is illegal.

The maximum penalty for a class C felony is seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

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May 20, 2016

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, GREGORY M. JOHNSON a/k/a GREGOR JOHNSON, d/o/b 5-24-1981, of Branson, entered guilty pleas to three (3) felony charges: class A felony pharmacy robbery in the first degree, felony armed criminal action, and class C felony unlawful possession of a concealable firearm. Johnson pleaded guilty without any plea agreement. Johnson’s case was scheduled for jury trial to begin this past Monday. Taney County Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2016.

On September 30, 2014, Johnson entered the Family Pharmacy at Cross Creek Shopping Center wearing a camouflage shirt and a black ski mask, pointing a handgun at pharmacy employees. Johnson demanded oxycodone pills and – while employees put the pills into a bag – Johnson counted-down from twenty while holding them at gunpoint. While leaving the store with the stolen pills, Johnson was wounded in the torso by a gunshot from a pharmacy employee. Johnson returned fire on the employees, but no one was struck by the bullets from Johnson’s handgun.

Later that day, Taney County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a car matching the description of the robber’s car, developed from surveillance video. Johnson was driving the car, and was observed to be bleeding from the torso. As Johnson was transported to the hospital by ambulance, he confessed to a detective that he had robbed the pharmacy to get pills.

Pharmacy robbery in the first degree carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years in prison. Armed criminal action is an unclassified felony that carries a minimum of three (3) years in prison and no set maximum sentence. Because Johnson has a felony conviction from Colorado, it was illegal for him to possess the handgun he used to rob the pharmacy, so he was charged with unlawful possession of a concealable firearm. Unlawful possession of a concealable firearm is a class C felony, with a maximum possible sentence of seven (7) years in prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

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May 13, 2016

JOSHUA L. PETERMAN, d/o/b 7-07-1986, of Merriam Woods, was sentenced on Thursday, May 12, 2016, to ten (10) years in prison for assault in the second degree, and five (5) years for armed criminal action, relating to a stabbing that occurred outside a bar in Rockaway Beach, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Judge Laura Johnson sentenced Peterman to the maximum sentences contemplated by a plea agreement between Peterman and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

Peterman and his twin brother, Joseph Peterman, fought with – and stabbed – a male after leaving a bar in the early morning hours of August 15, 2014. The Peterman brothers fled the scene when a taxi driver stopped to help the victim. Peterman was not identified until January of 2015, when he and his twin brother returned to the same bar they had been at on August 15, 2014.

Joshua Peterman’s sentences are to run concurrently with each other. Joseph Peterman pleaded guilty to the same charges on April 28, 2016, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9, 2016.

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April 15, 2016

On April 15, 2016, ROBERT C. GRANT, d/o/b 3-30-1982, of Hollister, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Taney County, to the class B felony of burglary in the first degree – stemming from a 2015 home-invasion. Special Judge Doug Bacon accepted Grant’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for June 10, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Grant’s maximum sentence is capped at fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

In the early morning hours of April 10, 2015, officers from Hollister Police Department, Branson Police Department, and the Taney County Sheriff’s Office all responded to a report of a break-in at a residence on Texas Avenue, in Hollister. When officers arrived at the residence, a homeowner was observed holding a suspected burglar at gun-point on the porch of the residence. The burglar was eventually identified as Robert C. Grant, and Grant was observed to be extremely intoxicated and uncooperative with the officers.

Grant’s nephew was with him when Grant forced entry through the back door of the home with a debit card, while the residents there were asleep. Grant made statements to his nephew that the home was abandoned – although it was not. Eventually, the homeowners awakened and confronted the burglars with a handgun. While officers were en route to the residence, Grant’s nephew fled into the woods and Grant struck one of the homeowners in the head with his fist.

“Fortunately, no one was seriously injured during this burglary,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “I can’t imagine how frightening this must have been for the homeowners. Although the homeowners would have been well within their rights to shoot the burglars, it appears they exercised great restraint.”

The range of punishment for the class B felony of burglary in the first degree is from five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Robert C. Grant was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender for having previously been convicted of at least two (2) felonies. That enhancement could have increased the possible maximum sentence to thirty (30) years in prison.

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