October 3, 2014
On Thursday, October 2, 2014, JAMES C. STAUDACHER, JR., d/o/b 5-08-1970, of Branson, pleaded guilty to the class B felony of DWI and was sentenced to ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Senior Judge Carr Woods, acting as Taney County Circuit Court Judge, sentenced Staudacher pursuant to a plea agreement between the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office and Staudacher’s lawyer.
Branson Police Officer Joseph Edwards was on routine patrol of Highway 76 during Branson’s annual cruise event on August 11, 2013, when he observed a passenger car accelerating and causing its tires to break traction with the pavement. Edwards and another Branson officer tried to initiate a traffic stop on the car, and the driver of the car did not immediately stop for the officers. Once the driver stopped the car in a parking lot, Officer Edwards made contact with the driver, Staudacher, and immediately noticed a strong odor of intoxicants. A bottle of bourbon was found in Staudacher’s car, and Staudacher refused the standard field sobriety tests, though told officers he would consent to a breath sample. Staudacher was arrested for suspicion of DWI and taken to the Branson Police Department, where his blood alcohol content was shown by breath sample to be 0.196% – over twice the level of legal intoxication.
Driving while intoxicated, as a first offense, is normally a class B misdemeanor, and handled by the Associate Circuit Courts. However, because Staudacher had four or more intoxication-related traffic convictions – from various courts in Stone County and Taney County – he was charged with a class B felony for being a “chronic” D.W.I. offender. The range of punishment for a class B felony is not less than five (5) years in prison and not more than fifteen (15) years in prison. Staudacher had been in custody on another case at the time of his guilty plea.
September 19, 2014
ROBIN F. GRIFFIN (d/o/b 8-17-1962), of Branson, pleaded guilty on Thursday, September 18, 2014, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, in four (4) different felony cases: the class B felony of driving while intoxicated, the class C felony of passing bad checks, the class C felony of possession of controlled substance, and the class D felony of resisting an arrest. Senior Judge Carr Woods accepted the plea and sentenced Griffin to the Missouri Department of Corrections for ten (10) years on three (3) of the cases, and seven (7) years on the resisting arrest case – pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Griffin is a career criminal, who was acting like a one-man crime spree in our county,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “With these sentences, Griffin should be unable to disturb the good people of our community for the next few years.”
Griffin’s DWI charge was a class B felony because he had no less than five (5) different convictions for DWI from five (5) different courts in Southwest Missouri – including Branson Municipal, Hollister Municipal, and the Taney County Associate Circuit Court.
Griffin was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender, increasing the maximum possible prison terms on his charges. Griffin’s sentences will run concurrently with one another.
September 5, 2014
ROCKY LEE BARROWS, d/o/b 5-14-1961, of Omaha, Arkansas, was sentenced on Thursday, September 4, 2014, to eight (8) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the class B felony of driving while intoxicated. Senior Judge Carr Woods, acting as Taney County Circuit Court Judge, sentenced Barrows after hearing arguments from the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office and Barrows’ lawyer. Barrows had entered a plea of guilty on April 21, 2014, without any plea agreement as to what sentence he would receive.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper K.C. Morris was on routine patrol on Coon Creek Road late December 3, 2010, when he observed a passenger car drive by with a broken side headlamp and broken taillight. The Trooper initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver, Rocky Lee Barrows. Barrows told the Trooper that he was not driving, and was just sitting in his car eating chicken. Barrows’ speech was slurred, he was using profanity and spitting while he was talking. Barrows exhibited a strong odor of intoxicants, and was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Barrows refused all sobriety tests.
Driving while intoxicated, as a first offense, is normally a class B misdemeanor, and handled by the Associate Circuit Courts. However, because Barrows had four or more intoxication-related traffic convictions, he was charged with a class B felony for being a “chronic” D.W.I. offender. The range of punishment for a class B felony is not less than five (5) years in prison and not more than fifteen (15) years in prison. Barrows had been out of custody on bond until his sentencing on September 4, 2014.
August 11, 2014
On Thursday, August 7, 2014, in the Associate Circuit Court of Taney County, Division I, DUSTIN LAYTON, d/o/b/ 7-04-1993, of Hollister, entered a plea of guilty to sexual misconduct in the first degree, and received a one (1) year sentence in the Taney County Jail. Judge Tony Williams sentenced Layton pursuant to a plea agreement made between the defendant and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.
Layton had followed a young woman through the Walmart store at Branson Hills Parkway on April 24, 2014. When the woman stopped at an aisle to get an item from the shelf, Layton exposed his genitals and made sexual comments to her. Layton then fled, but was later identified by photo line-up and surveillance video.
In April of 2013, Layton had pleaded guilty to the class D felony of sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure, for exposing his genitals to children on a Hollister School bus in 2010. Layton was on probation for that felony offense at the time he committed this crime in April of 2014. Also, in March of 2013, Layton entered a guilty plea to the class B misdemeanor of sexual misconduct in the first degree and served six (6) months in the Taney County Jail, for exposing his genitals to a high school student in Walmart in December of 2012.
Normally, sexual misconduct in the first degree is a class B misdemeanor. However, because Layton had previously been found guilty of similar crimes, this charge was a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one (1) year in the county jail and/or a fine of $1,000.00. Layton’s felony probation was revoked as a result of Thursday’s guilty plea.
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