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RALSTON FOUND GUILTY BY TANEY COUNTY JURY

December 13, 2011

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, in Forsyth, Missouri, Ricky Don Ralston (d/o/b 11/28/1967) was found guilty by a Taney County jury of statutory sodomy in the second degree, statutory rape in the second degree, and sexual misconduct with a child by indecent exposure. The nine-man, three-woman jury deliberated for just under forty-five minutes before arriving at the unanimous guilty verdicts on all charges. Taney County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr scheduled sentencing for February 9, 2012.

The charges stemmed from allegations that Ralston sexually abused his live-in girlfriend’s teenage daughter, age 15, in his home in Walnut Shade, Taney County, Missouri, from December 2008 through the end of August 2009. A child abuse hotline call prompted an investigation that led to an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations. The indecent exposure charge was the result of a disclosure from the 13 year old son of Ralston’s girlfriend that Ralston had exposed himself to the boy, then made fun of the boy and called him names for having looked at Ralston’s genitals.

Statutory sodomy in the second degree and statutory rape in the second degree are each class C felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00. Sexual misconduct with a child by indecent exposure is a class D felony carrying a maximum sentence of up to four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.

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THREE (3) YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEX OFFENDER WHO FAILED TO REGISTER

December 9, 2011

DAVID R. McWILLIAMS (d.o.b. 6-23-1955), of Branson, Missouri, was sentenced on Thursday, December 8, 2011, to three (3) years in prison for the class D felony of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender. Taney County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr sentenced McWilliams after a contested hearing, during which McWilliams’ attorney argued for probation and Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell argued for a prison sentence. McWilliams had previously entered a guilty plea to the charge on October 26, 2011.

The felony charge stemmed from McWilliams not registering his change of address with the Taney County Sheriff from August 8, 2010, through October 20, 2010. During that time period, McWilliams was not living at the address he had previously registered with the Sheriff, and his whereabouts were unknown.

The class D felony of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender carries a maximum sentence not to exceed four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.

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MOBILE METH LAB RESULTS IN EIGHT (8) YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

December 9, 2011

MICHAEL SOWERS (d.o.b. 10-13-1969), of Kissee Mills, Missouri, was sentenced on Thursday, December 8, 2011, to eight (8) years in prison for the class B felony of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance. On October 6, 2011, Sowers had appeared before Taney County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr and entered a guilty plea to the charge without any plea agreement.

The felony charge against Sowers was the result of an investigation and arrest that occurred on July 22, 2011, at which time Sowers was the driver of a pickup truck found parked late at night in the parking lot of the Episcopal Church in Branson. Due to suspicious behavior, Branson Police questioned Sowers and the truck’s passenger. The passenger informed police that there was a mobile meth lab located in a bag in the bed of the pickup. Once that bag was discovered by the officers, Sowers was questioned. Sowers admitted to officers on the scene that he was aware of the methamphetamine manufacturing components in the bag, and took responsibility for the contraband.

The class B felony of attempt to manufacture a controlled substance carries a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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WILSON FOUND GUILTY OF INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE DRUGS

December 9, 2011

ROBERT S. WILSON (d.o.b. 8/11/1954), of Hollister, Missouri, was found guilty by Taney County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr of the class B felony of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, as a persistent felony drug offender. The guilty verdict was the result of a bench trial held on November 16, 2011, heard by Judge Orr. Because the Court found that Wilson is a persistent felony drug offender, the maximum sentence in this case is the same as a class A felony: thirty (30) years or life in the Missouri Department of Corrections, without the possibility of probation or parole. A sentencing date for Wilson has not yet been scheduled.

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