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TEN (10) YEARS IN PRISON FOR ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

February 17, 2012

JUSTIN RUSSELL (d.o.b. 9-17-1978), of Branson, was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison on Thursday, February 16, 2012, for abusing his infant child on August 1, 2011. Russell had previously entered a guilty plea to the class C felony of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree on December 15, 2011, pursuant to a plea agreement.

The felony charge stemmed from an investigation into a 9-1-1 call from Russell’s mother, the grandmother of the abused child. The grandmother witnessed Russell cover the infant’s face with something for several seconds, in response to the baby crying. The witness then watched while Russell yelled and threw the baby about six (6) feet onto a couch. The grandmother did not intervene immediately out of fear of Russell hurting her or further abusing the infant. When questioned on the scene, Russell had denied any abuse toward the baby. At the time of his plea, however, Russell did exhibit remorse to the Court for his actions toward his child.

Endangering the welfare of a child is a class C felony, which normally carries a maximum penalty of seven (7) years in prison, however, Russell had been charged as a persistent felony offender by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, so he was eligible for up to fifteen (15) years in prison on the charge.

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BURGLAR PLEADS GUILTY IN EXCHANGE FOR SIX (6) YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

February 13, 2012

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, in Taney County Circuit Court, Jeremy William Evans (d/o/b 06-25-1984), of Hollister, was sentenced by Judge Mark Orr to six (6) years in prison for multiple counts of felony burglary and stealing. The charges stemmed from a pair of burglaries committed by Evans in late November of 2011.

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RALSTON GIVEN CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES BY COURT

February 10, 2012

On Thursday afternoon, February 9, 2012, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, Judge Mark Orr sentenced Ricky Don Ralston (d.o.b. 11/28/1967) of Branson, to a total of fourteen (14) years in prison for sex crimes against two minors. Ralston was found guilty – as charged – by a Taney County jury on December 13, 2011, of the felonies of statutory rape second degree, statutory sodomy second degree, and sexual misconduct with a child by indecent exposure. Judge Orr sentenced Ralston to consecutive sentences of six (6) years for statutory rape second degree, six (6) years for statutory sodomy second degree, and two (2) years for sexual misconduct with a child by indecent exposure.

The charges stemmed from allegations that Ralston gave drugs and alcohol to his live-in girlfriend’s teenage daughter in 2008 and 2009, then had sexual intercourse with her, on multiple occasions. In addition to the jury finding Ralston guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of his crimes against that victim, Ralston was convicted of exposing his genitals to his girlfriend’s young son for the purpose of harassing and humiliating him.

Statutory rape second degree and statutory sodomy second degree are class C felonies, which carry a maximum prison sentence of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Sexual misconduct with a child by indecent exposure is a class D felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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VENDING MACHINE THEFTS NET SIX (6) YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

February 3, 2012

On Thursday, February 2, 2012, in Taney County Circuit Court, TIMOTHY LEMMONS (d/o/b 05-27-1987), of Branson, was sentenced by Judge Mark Orr to six (6) years in prison for felony stealing. The charge stemmed from a string of vending machine break-ins in August of 2010.

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