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June 7, 2018

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that Curtis E. Mosby, d/o/b 11-27-1958, entered an “open plea” of guilty, on the eve of trial, to the class B felony of driving while intoxicated and the class D felony of driving while license revoked – both as a prior and persistent felony offender. Curtis E. Mosby was set to begin a two-day jury trial today in the Circuit Court of Taney County. An “open plea” of guilty means there is no agreement with the prosecutor as to what sentence Mosby will receive. Formal sentencing is set for August 28, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.

On May 14, 2016 at approximately 1:00 a.m., Trooper Kyle Copeland with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, while on patrol, observed a vehicle cross the fog line then run off the road to the right and continue driving on Missouri Highway 165 at Green Mountain Drive. Trooper Copeland, who was concerned for safety of other drivers, stopped the vehicle at Missouri Highway 76 at Presley’s Country Jubilee. Trooper Copeland made contact with the driver, Curtis Mosby. The Trooper observed a strong odor of intoxicating beverages coming from the vehicle and Mr. Mosby’s eyes were watery, bloodshot and glassy. Mr. Mosby’s speech was slurred, mumbling and confused, and he was covered in slober. After submitting to a battery of Standardized Field Sobriety tests administerd by Trooper Copeland, Mr. Mosby was arrested for driving while intoxicated and driving while license revoked. Mosby was then transported to the Taney County Jail, where he submitted to a breath which showed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .150 – almost two times the presumed legal limit in Missouri.  During Trooper Copeland’s investigation it was learned that Mr. Mosby had six prior driving while intoxicated convictions and his license was revoked with a 10-year denial.

In response to the plea Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell said,  “I am grateful that Taney County’s roads are patroled by law enforcement officers like Trooper Copeland. This was a great victory for the safety of our community. With Trooper Copeland’s solid policework, we were able to hold a chronic offender accountable for his continued disregard for the safety of others on Missouri roadways.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminsitration (NHTSA), twenty-eight (28) percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2016 were the result of alcohol impaired driving. 10,467 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, resulting in an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 50 minutes. According to the same study, alcohol imparment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was 3.3 times higher at night than during the day (30% versus 9%), and a 2009 study by NHTSA revealed that midnight to 3:00 a.m. is the most dangerous time to be on the road for drivers, as 66% of all fatalities during that time were the result of alcohol impairment.

Charged as a chronic DWI offender and a prior and persistent felony offender, Curtis Mosby faces a up to thirty (30) years or life imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections for driving while intoxicated, and up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for driving while license revoked.

This case was prosecuted on behalf of Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Merrell by Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher W. Lebeck and Legal Intern Scottie Bowden.

Topics: News |


June 4, 2018

On Sunday, June 10, 2018, a program on the Oxygen channel (Local channels: Suddenlink 79, DirecTV 251, Dish Network 127) will feature a Taney County murder case – the 2011 murders of Russell and Rebecca Porter, who were kidnapped from their home in Willard, Missouri, and were shot to death in Cedarcreek, Missouri. The investigation into the disappearance of the Porters was initiated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, on April 18, 2011, but ultimately became a collaborative effort among numerous law enforcement agencies – primarily Greene County, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Taney County Sheriff’s Office.

Five (5) defendants were eventually convicted for their involvement in the murders: Tony Friend, Windy Friend, Dusty Hicks, Phillip Friend, and Robert Campbell. Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell presented the cases against the five (5) defendants to a Taney County grand jury, won convictions in jury trials against Windy Friend and Robert Campbell, and negotiated guilty pleas from Tony Friend, Dusty Hicks, and Phillip Friend.

In July of 2017, the Investigation Discovery channel series ‘On the Case with Paula Zahn’ featured the same Taney County murder case. “This case has received a lot of attention over the past few years because of its breadth, complexity, and successful prosecutions,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “Many people contributed to the discovery of the truth behind the murders of Russell and Rebecca. The killers are behind bars now thanks to the collaborative effort of everyone involved in this investigation.”

Topics: News, Press Releases |


May 24, 2018

On Thursday morning, May 24, 2018, TRISTAN R. CARR, d/o/b 7-25-1998, of Forsyth, was sentenced to twenty (20) years for the crime of murder in the second degree and three (3) years for the crime of armed criminal action, in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri. Circuit Judge Michael Cordonnier sentenced Carr after hearing arguments from Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell and Carr’s attorney. Carr’s sentences were ordered to run concurrently with each other. Carr had previously been charged with murder in the first degree, but entered his guilty plea on February 26, 2018, to the amended charge of murder in the second degree as part of a plea agreement he made with the Prosecutor.

The guilty plea and sentence stemmed from the October 15, 2016, shooting death of 18 year old Eric Summerfield outside Carr’s residence, in Forsyth. Carr shot the victim once in the chest, at point-blank range. Carr gave differing stories to investigating officers about the cause of the shooting.

Murder in the second degree carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years or life imprisonment – with the possibility of parole. Armed criminal action carries a minimum sentence of three (3) years in prison, with no maximum. Carr’s plea agreement capped his sentences at twenty (20) years on each of his two (2) felony charges.

Topics: News, Press Releases |


May 22, 2018

GARY DEAN PHILP d/o/b 7-10-1965, of Branson was sentenced to a five year sentence for each of the felonies of felon in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine and unlawful use of a weapon and a one year jail sentence for each count of the misdemeanors of possession of marijuana and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. Gary Philp was sentenced by Wright County Associate Circuit Judge Lynette Veenstra who was assigned to the case after Taney County Judge Tony Williams was removed from hearing the matter. Probation is denied and the sentences are to run concurrent to each other but consecutive to the fifteen year sentence he received in April after a Taney County jury trial where he was found guilty of dealing methamphetamine.

On September 27, 2016, members of the Combined Ozarks Multijurisdicitonal Enforcement Team (COMET) Drug Task Force were conducting a “knock and talk” investigation at the Plantation Inn in Branson. They made contact with Philp and received consent to search his room. As a result of the search, COMET officers found ammunition in the room and methamphetamine, marijuana, paraphernalia and a Bersa Thunder 380CC pistol on his person. Philp is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Sentencing was argued by Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Lebeck on behalf of Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell.

Topics: News |

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