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VERNON CHRISTIAN FOUND GUILTY OF FORGERY

November 23, 2010

VERNON CHRISTIAN, dob: 5/11/1938 of Kirbyville, Missouri was found guilty today after a two day jury trial of the class C felony of forgery. A jury of eight (8) men, four (4) women deliberated a little over an hour before reaching their verdict this afternoon.

In November of 2007, a property owner on Gunnison Road called the Taney County Collector’s Office to find out about his property tax bill because he did not recieve one for that year. From the collector’s office he learned that he did not own his property anymore and that the land had been deeded to the defendant, VERNON CHRISTIAN. From an investigation by the Taney County Sheriff’s Department it was learned that on November 22, 2006, VERNON CHRISTIAN had forged the signature of the property owner and recorded a fradulent deed with the Taney County Recorder of Deeds. In preparation for trial, a handwriting analysis was ordered by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office and the forged signature showed significant similarities to VERNON CHRISTIAN’S handwriting.

In response to the verdict, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell stated, “[u]nfortunately, Taney County is in one of the busiest judicial circuits in Missouri and it took a long time for this case to reach trial. I am grateful for the victim’s patience in seeing this case through, and I am also thankful for the willingness of Associate Circuit Judge Tony Williams in hearing this case on a special setting so that the victim can finally receive closure after three very long years waiting for trial.”

Formal sentencing is set for January 25, 2010 at 1:00pm in front of Taney County Associate Circuit Judge Tony Williams. The class C felony of forgery has a range of punishment of one (1) day to one (1) year in the Taney County Jail or one (1) year to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

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DOUGLAS MYERS PLEADS GUILTY TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

November 14, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DOUGLAS MYERS, dob: 1/6/1972 of Upland, California plead guilty without a plea agreement Thursday in front of Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr to the class D felony of attempted sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure.

Between June 18, 2009 and March 18, 2010, an investigator with the Tri-Lakes Regional Internet Crimes Task Force was posing as a female under the age of fourteen (14) in a Missouri Yahoo! chat room. DOUGLAS MYERS made contact witht the undercover investigator posing as a minor, and during the chat sessions the defendant engaged in sexually explicit chat and shared sexually explicit photos of himself.

Formal sentencing is set for February 17, 2001. AS there was no plea agreement, DOUGLAS MYERS faces the entire range of punishment at sentencing of one (1) day to one (1) year in the Taney County Jail, or one (1) year to four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

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25-YEAR SENTENCE HANDED-DOWN FOR 2009 STABBING

November 5, 2010

On Thursday, November 4, 2010, Donald Shane Sperling (d.o.b. 07/02/1969) was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr to twenty-five (25) years in prison for first-degree domestic assault and twenty-five (25) years in prison for armed criminal action. Probation was denied.

On August 10, 2010, a 4-man, 8-woman jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes before returning a guilty verdict against Donald Shane Sperling, alias Donald Shane Kennemer, alias Donald S. Kenner, of Ava, Missouri. Sperling stood trial for first-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action stemming from a stabbing in Hollister on June 25, 2009. The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Sperling stabbed his live-in girlfriend nine times in the front yard of her residence. The victim entered her home, bleeding uncontrollably, and told her teenage son and his friends she had been “hit” by Sperling. The victim’s 17-year old son ran outside in search of Sperling, but Sperling had fled the area. The victim’s son then organized his friends to assist him in putting pressure on his mother’s wounds, calling 9-1-1, and driving his mother to meet paramedics at the McDonald’s parking lot in Hollister, Missouri.

Taney County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the scene of the assault, finding trails of blood, but no sign of Sperling. A locked Ford Tempo was parked outside the residence while officers canvassed the neighborhood and adjacent wooded-area for the defendant on June 25th and 26th. Approximately one-half hour after officers left the residence, neighbors noticed that the Ford Tempo was gone. The car was reported stolen and found several days later abandoned in Springfield, Missouri. At midday on June 26th, Sperling turned himself in at the Ava Police Department with the explanation that he believed Taney County was looking for him. Ava officers noticed fresh scratches covering the arms of Sperling, and the scratches were photographed. No explanation could be provided for how Sperling arrived in Ava after the stabbing.

“The professional investigative work done by the Taney County Sheriff’s Department made this case strong, and made this sentence possible,” said Jeffrey Merrell, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney. “The twenty-five year sentence definitely fit this crime.”

The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office had charged Sperling as a prior and persistent offender, due to him having at least two previous felony convictions. Although the two twenty-five (25) year sentences were ordered by the Court to be served concurrently, Sperling will be required by the Missouri Department of Corrections to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

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JAMES F. PATTON SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS FOR DRUG AND GUN CHARGE

November 4, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that JAMES F. PATTON, dob: 2/2/1963 of Walnut Shade, Missouri plead guilty and was sentenced to ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance as a prior and persistent felony drug offender, and five (5) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm as a prior and persistent felony offender. Probation was denied and both counts are to run concurrent.

On April 28, 2010, members of the Taney County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at the residence of JAMES F. PATTON in Walnut Shade, Missouri. During a search of the residence officers located methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphenalia. In a closet of the residence officers located .22 caliber rilfe.

Since 2008 it has been a state crime in Missouri for a convicted felon to possess any firearm. JAMES F. PATTON has prior felony convictions for distribution, delivery, and manufacturing of a controlled substance in both Taney County, Missouri and Crawford County, Arkansas.

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