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GET-AWAY DRIVER SENTENCED TO FIVE (5) YEARS IN PRISON

February 22, 2017

ROBERT G. WANZA, d/o/b 1-10-1990, of Montgomery County, Texas, was sentenced to five (5) years in prison on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, for his role in the burglary of the Walgreen’s pharmacy, in Hollister, the night of December 3rd, 2016. Wanza entered a plea of guilty to the class C felony of burglary in the second degree, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

On the night of December 3, 2016 – just before midnight – alarms at the Hollister Walgreen’s store alerted Hollister Police of a possible break-in. Wanza was found driving a car, without lights, just outside the store. When a Hollister police officer initiated a traffic stop on the car around midnight, the occupants of the car fled on foot, leaving Wanza in the driver’s seat. Wanza was arrested. Surveillance video appeared to show two people breaking-into the Walgreen’s store and stealing pills – some of which were found in the car Wanza was driving. The physical description of the burglars matched the occupants of the car who escaped on foot. At least one of the two fleeing suspects was arrested later that same night. The investigation led officers to believe Wanza was the get-away driver for the burglars – all of whom were from Texas.

Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams sentenced Wanza to five (5) years in prison. This class C felony of burglary in the second degree carries a maximum sentence of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

Topics: News, Press Releases |

TWELVE (12) YEARS IN PRISON FOR CHRONIC D.W.I. OFFENDER

February 21, 2017

RANDY S. STEARNS, d/o/b 4-27-1964, of Hollister, entered a plea of guilty to driving while intoxicated as a chronic offender, on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams accepted Stearns’ guilty plea and sentenced Stearns to twelve (12) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, pursuant to a plea agreement between Stearns and the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office.

On May 1, 2016, Branson Police responded to a call to Stone Castle Resort, where a man had been caught allegedly trying to steal items from a maintenance shed. Police arrived and found Stearns driving a white van, trying to back out of the parking lot. The items Stearns was trying to take had been recovered, but police arrested Stearns for suspicion of burglary and driving while intoxicated. A blood draw was obtained from Stearns as part of the D.W.I. investigation, and Stearns’ blood alcohol level was determined by lab testing to have been over 0.18%.

Driving while intoxicated as a first offense is normally a class B misdemeanor, however, Stearns had at least four (4) prior alcohol-related offenses on his record. Therefore, Stearns was charged with the class B felony of driving while intoxicated, as a chronic offender. The range of punishment for this class B felony is from five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Topics: News, Press Releases |

CHRISTIAN FOUND GUILTY OF FORGERY

February 8, 2017

VERNON CHRISTIAN, dob: 5/11/1938 of Kirbyville, Missouri was found guilty yesterday after a two day jury trial of the class C felony of forgery. A jury deliberated a little less than an hour before returning the guilty verdict.

In November of 2007, a property owner in Kirbyville called the Taney County Collector after he did not receive his tax bill for that year. From there, he learned that he no longer owned the property and it had been deeded to the defendant, Vernon Christian. An investigation by the Sheriff’s Office uncovered that Christian had forged the signature of the property owner and recorded the fraudulent deed in November of 2006. A handwriting analysis was done on the document and “all indications pointed towards Mr. Christian” being the signer of the fraudulent document.

A jury had previously found Christian guilty of the same offense in November 2010 and he had been sentenced to six (6) years in the Department of Corrections. The case was reversed and remanded in September 2016 to the Taney County Circuit Court following an appeal.

Formal sentencing is set for April 18, 2017 at 9:00am in front of Taney County Circuit Court Judge Tony W. Williams. Forgery is a class C felony – a class C felony committed before January 1, 2017 carries a range of punishment of one (1) day to one (1) year in the Taney County Jail or two (2) years to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

Topics: Press Releases |

NELSON PLEADS GUILTY TO FELONY CHILD ENDANGERING CHARGE

January 25, 2017

TIFFANY D. NELSON, d/o/b 9-22-1985, of Branson, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, to the class C felony of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, in the Circuit Court of Taney County. Former Taney County Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson accepted Nelson’s guilty plea just hours before the case was scheduled to be tried. A sentencing assessment report was ordered and Judge Johnson scheduled Nelson’s sentencing for March 27, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. There is no plea agreement as to what sentence Nelson will receive.

On August 5, 2016, Joshua E. Holler a/k/a Joshua Hollar, d/o/b 6-13-1986 – Nelson’s live-in boyfriend – pleaded guilty to the class B felony of child abuse, for having severely beaten and shaken Nelson’s sixteen-month-old child in July of 2015. Holler was sentenced to twelve (12) years in prison as part of a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. Nelson’s guilty plea related specifically to her delay in getting medical treatment for her child following Holler’s abuse.

The class C felony of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree carries a maximum punishment of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine.

Topics: News, Press Releases |


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