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September 25, 2017

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in recognition of this special month, The Women’s Crisis Center of Taney County is hosting a Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil on Monday, October 2, 2017. The annual event will be held at the Community Presbyterian Church, in Forsyth, Missouri, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

According to a study released in December of 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 women have been violently attacked by their intimate partners. Unfortunately, domestic violence is still more common and less reported than physical violence from strangers, with studies estimating that only about 1 in 4 domestic assaults are ever reported.

Domestic violence is not just a global problem but also a Taney County problem. So far this year, the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office has received 179 domestic assault referrals. In 2016, the Prosecutor’s Office received 83 domestic assault referrals from law enforcement officers. In 2015, 61 domestic assault referrals were received.

“Hopefully giving recognition to Domestic Violence Awareness Month will let those who may be suffering in a domestic violence situation know there are people here – in our community – who want to help,” said Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell.

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September 7, 2017

On Thursday afternoon, September 7, 2017, TYLER W. MARTIN, d/o/b 5-19-1998, formerly of Branson, was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for two (2) counts of class B felony child molestation in the first degree, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Judge Eric Eighmy sentenced Martin after hearing arguments from the defendant and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, and ordered both of Martin’s ten (10) year sentences to run concurrently with one another.

Martin admitted at his guilty plea on June 7, 2017, to molesting a thirteen-year-old girl at a motel on Green Mountain Drive, in Branson, on April 15th and April 16th of 2016. The girl disclosed the abuse on April 17, 2016, and Branson Police began investigating immediately.

These class B felonies each carry a range of punishment of five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Martin had pleaded guilty to the two (2) felonies without any agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office regarding what sentence he would receive.

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August 23, 2017

On Wednesday afternoon, August 23, 2017, DANIEL L. LACEY, d/o/b 4-07-1988, of Branson, was sentenced to twelve (12) years in prison and seven (7) years in prison, respectively, for two (2) counts of child abuse, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Judge Eric Eighmy sentenced Lacey to the maximum sentence possible under Lacey’s plea agreement. Lacey’s sentences are to run concurrently with one another.

Lacey pled guilty to one count of the class C felony of child abuse for biting the child, for which he was sentenced to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Lacey also pled guilty to one count of the class B felony of child abuse for causing serious physical injury – specifically, the acute subdural hematoma – for which he was sentenced to twelve (12) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

On October 19, 2016, Lacey and his wife took their 8-week-old child to the Cox Hospital emergency department, in Branson, to be examined for undetermined medical concerns. Lacey told medical care providers that the child had squirmed out of his arms and fallen onto a couch, while his wife was at work earlier that day. Doctors diagnosed the child with acute subdural hematoma – both bilateral and posterior – and found that the injuries were not consistent with a fall described by Lacey. Furthermore, the child was observed to have bruises that appeared to be possible bite marks on at least four (4) different body parts. Upon questioning by detectives with the Taney County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey admitted to biting the child – which was corroborated through DNA testing on one of the bite marks.

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August 15, 2017

JAMES AARON LOWE, d/o/b: 08-26-1973, of Branson, Missouri, was found guilty on Monday, August 14th, of one count of felony stealing. A nine (9) woman, three (3) man jury deliberated for just over an hour before reaching the verdict. Christian County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Bacon, who presided over the trial, scheduled Lowe’s sentencing for October 13, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tony Brown presented evidence that on April 23, 2016, Lowe stole $42.43 worth of gasoline from White Oak Station, in Forsyth.

While stealing of this nature is ordinarily a misdemeanor, Lowe had no fewer than two (2) prior stealing-related offenses in the last ten (10) years, enhancing these charges to the class D felony of stealing 3rd offense. Furthermore, Lowe was also found to be a prior and persistent felony offender, as he has had two prior felony findings of guilt, further enhancing the range of punishment for this offense. Lowe is facing a maximum of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000).

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