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BIRKENFELD FOUND GUILTY OF FELONY DOMESTIC ASSAULT

June 21, 2012

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DANIEL BIRKENFELD, dob: 12-08-1972, of Republic, Missouri, was found guilty by a Taney County jury of the class C felony of domestic assault in the second degree late Tuesday evening, June 19, 2012. Jury selection and arguments began on Monday, June 18th, with the presentation of evidence taking most of Tuesday. The 5-man, 7-woman jury had the case for about three (3) hours after closing arguments before handing down the guilty verdict. Birkenfeld was acquitted of a single misdemeanor count of domestic assault in the third degree.

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TEN (10) YEAR PRISON SENTENCES FOR MARQUEZ

June 11, 2012

FORSYTH, MISSOURI – Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell, announced today that BENJAMIN G. MARQUEZ, DOB: 11-06-1973, of Branson, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday, June 7, 2012, by Circuit Judge Mark Orr to ten (10) years in prison on multiple felony cases.

Marquez was sentenced to ten (10) years for the class B felony of robbery in the second degree and ten (10) years for armed criminal action, stemming from the September 21, 2009, robbery of a resident of the Hillbilly Inn motel in Branson. During that incident, Marquez acted with others to forcibly steal a wallet and pills from someone, using the aid of a bat – which was the basis for the armed criminal action charge.

Marquez was also sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for two (2) different cases of possession of methamphetamine. One case stemmed from Marquez being caught in possession of methamphetamine on October 31, 2009, the other case stemmed from his possession of methamphetamine on December 14, 2011. In each of his two (2) meth possession cases, Marquez was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender. In addition to the ten (10) year sentences, Marquez also pleaded guilty to the class D felony of failure to appear. That charge resulted from Marquez missing his jury trial date on December 12, 2011. Marquez was given the maximum sentence of four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for that offense.

“There were some challenges with a couple of these cases,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell, “so it feels good to have these wrapped-up.” Robbery in the second degree carries a range of punishment of five (5) years to fifteen (15) years in prison. The felony of armed criminal action stems from Marquez using a bat to carry-out his robbery, and the minimum penalty for that offense is three (3) years in prison – there is no maximum sentence for armed criminal action.

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HARTL SENTENCED TO EIGHT (8) YEARS FOR DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

June 8, 2012

MICHAEL L. HARTL (d.o.b. 10-16-1959), of Hollister, was sentenced to eight (8) years in prison by Judge Mark Orr, on Thursday, June 7, 2012, on the class B felony of driving while intoxicated. Judge Orr had previously accepted a guilty plea from Hartl, pursuant to a plea agreement that Hartl would not receive a sentence any longer than ten (10) years in prison. The driving while intoxicated offense was enhanced to a class B felony because Hartl had at least four (4) prior drunk driving convictions on his record.

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JUDGE FINDS BRANSON WOMAN GUILTY OF ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF HER CHILDREN

May 31, 2012

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Taney County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr issued guilty verdicts against Veronica Michelle Davis a/k/a Mia Smith (d.o.b. 08/06/1982), of Branson, Missouri, on two felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree. Judge Orr scheduled Davis’ sentencing hearing for June 21, 2012.

The trial took place on Thursday, April 26th, in Forsyth. The evidence stemmed from sexual abuse allegations by Davis’ children against Davis’ husband, Robert David Nelson. Nelson was a registered sex offender prior to his relationship with Davis, and Davis was directed by multiple state agencies to keep her children away from Nelson. Instead, however, Davis married Nelson, then left her three (3) children – all under the age of ten (10) years – with Nelson while she left the area for several months. During that time, Nelson sexually abused Davis’ two (2) daughters. Nelson was found guilty by a Christian County jury of those crimes in 2011, and is scheduled for sentencing July 6th.

Davis was charged by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office as a prior and persistent felony offender, meaning she has at least two (2) prior, unrelated felony convictions. Endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree is a class C felony, which normally carries a maximum prison sentence of seven (7) years. However, because Davis is a prior and persistent felony offender, her maximum sentence on each count is fifteen (15) years in prison.

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