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January 13, 2015

GERALD W. MOGAN, d/o/b 2-23-1970, of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, was sentenced on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, to four (4) years in prison for the class D felony of Attempted Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child, and to five (5) years in prison for the unclassified felony of Attempted Enticement of a Child. On September 17, 2014, Senior Judge Carr Woods presided over a bench trial in the Taney County Circuit Court, after which Woods found Mogan guilty of the two (2) felonies.

Mogan was charged for having used his computer webcam to transmit sexually explicit video images of himself to an undercover law enforcement officer – who was masquerading as a 13 year old girl. Taney County Sheriff’s Deputy Nina Welch was working with the Tri-Lakes Regional Internet Crimes Task Force in 2010, when Mogan contacted her via a Yahoo instant message. Once Welch communicated that she was a 13 year old girl, Mogan began to correspond about sexually explicit matters, including going to a motel room to engage in sex. Mogan also sent her photographs of himself and multiple videos of his genitals.

Attempted Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child is a class D felony, which carries a maximum penalty of four (4) years in prison. The felony of Attempted Enticement of a Child carries a minimum of five (5) years in prison and a maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in prison. Mogan’s sentences were ordered to run concurrently with one another.

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January 13, 2015

JAMES W. WIKLUND, d/o/b 3-28-1975, of Branson, was sentenced to over one hundred and fifty (150) years in prison Tuesday, January 13, 2015, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Senior Judge Carr Woods sentenced Wiklund to thirty (30) years in prison – the maximum – for burglary in the first degree, assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, and two (2) counts of kidnapping. Each of those sentences was ordered to be served consecutively with one another. In addition, Woods sentenced Wiklund to three (3) years for the offense of armed criminal action and ten (10) years for tampering in the first degree – also consecutive.

On November 4, 2014, Wiklund was found guilty by a Taney County jury of seven (7) felonies. The case stemmed from a home-invasion committed by Wiklund and Jonathan Hill in late-December of 2012, at a home in Ridgedale, Missouri. Hill was sentenced to twenty-five (25) years in prison for his role in the violent attack, pursuant to a plea agreement.

The jury did not recommend any sentence for Wiklund, because the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had charged Wiklund as a prior and persistent felony offender – requiring judge sentencing, rather than jury sentencing. In all, Wiklund was given consecutive sentences on seven (7) felonies.

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December 19, 2014

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Merrell, announced today that DUSTY RAY HICKS, DOB: 5/27/1987, of Greene County, Missouri, entered a guilty plea Thursday afternoon, December 18, 2014, to six (6) felonies, in the Taney County Circuit Court. Hicks pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of murder in the second degree, two (2) counts of armed criminal action, and two (2) counts of felonious restraint, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. In exchange for Hicks’ guilty pleas, the two (2) counts of murder were amended from first-degree to second-degree, and his potential sentences would be capped. Special Circuit Court Judge Calvin Holden accepted Hicks’ guilty plea, and scheduled formal sentencing for February 19, 2015.

The maximum sentence for murder in the second degree is life in prison – with the possibility of parole. There is no statutory maximum sentence for the crimes of armed criminal action, though the plea agreement states that there will be a cap of fifty (50) years for Hicks’ guilty pleas to those two (2) counts. The maximum sentence for felonious restraint is seven (7) years in prison. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Hicks’ sentences are to be concurrent, and his lawyer may argue for less than the maximum sentences recommended by the Taney County Prosecutor.

Dusty Hicks was indicted by a Taney County grand jury in 2012 on those felonies for his role in the disappearance and deaths of Russell and Rebecca Porter, of Willard, Missouri, occurring April 18, 2011. Tony Friend was previously sentenced to life in prison without parole for his guilty pleas to murder in the first degree. Tony’s son, Phillip Friend, previously pled guilty to murder in the second degree and felonious restraint. Tony’s wife, Windy Friend, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Robert Campbell still faces charges for murder in the first degree.

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December 8, 2014

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, GARRY LEE SPAIN, d/o/b 7-21-1953, of Jackson, Tennessee, entered a plea of guilty to the felony of tampering in the first degree. Spain was sentenced by Senior Judge William Roberts to five (5) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

On October 9, 2014, Branson Police were patrolling the parking lot of Walmart on Highway 76, in Branson, Missouri, when Spain was observed sleeping in a Chevrolet pickup truck with Louisiana license plates and a missing window. Police ran the plates and discovered that the truck was reported stolen from the State of Louisiana. Upon questioning, Spain claimed that he had borrowed the truck several days before, and that no one knew he was in Missouri with it. As it turned out, Spain did not have permission to be in possession of the Chevrolet pickup. By knowingly possessing the stolen vehicle, Spain was guilty of the crime of tampering in the first degree.

Tampering in the first degree is a class C felony, which carries a range of punishment of up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

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