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SUSPECTED LEADER OF SHOPLIFTING RING FOUND GUILTY

January 22, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that VICKY KIRKLAND, dob: 9/10/1958 of Lowell, Arkansas was found guilty of the felony of receiving stolen property after a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Taney County Missouri on January 21, 2010. Formal sentencing is set for March 19, 2010.

On October 11, 2008 VICKY KIRKLAND drove her Ford Explorer to Branson, Missouri and was accompanied by two associates who shoplifted from stores at the Tanger Mall. VICKY KIRKLAND’S associates put the shoplifted goods into her Ford Explorer into duffel bags brought to Branson by the women to hold stolen merchandise. Four other women, including VICKY KIRKLAND’S daughter, SHELLY CLARK, plead guilty to felony stealing. There was no evidence VICKY KIRKLAND stole merchandise, but she told officers she was aware the other women were stealing.

SHELLY CLARK, dob: 4/20/1985 was also scheduled on January 21, 2010 for a bench trail on her felony stealing charge. However, SHELLY CLARK entered a guilty plea without a plea agreement before her trial began. SHELLY CLARK had written a confession on the date she was caught by the Branson Police.

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MICHAEL ERB FOUND GUILTY OF CHILD MOLESTATION IN THE FIRST DEGREE

January 15, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that MICHAEL L. ERB, dob: 8/11/1968 of Hollister, Missouri was found guilty of two counts of child molestation in the first degree. On December 1, 2009 a bench trial was held in Christian County on a change of venue motion filed by the defense. Judge Mark Orr announced the guilty verdict today at the Christian County Courthouse.

Between May 1 and November 15, 2005 the defendant subjected two separate victims under the age of fourteen to sexual contact during sleepovers at his house in Hollister, Missouri. The Hollister Police Department investigated the allegations and the forensic interviews of the minor children were performed by the Child Advocacy Center in Branson West.

Formal sentencing is set for March 19, 2010.

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THREE-YEAR SENTENCE FOR DRUNK DRIVING

January 15, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DOUGLAS R. WILBUR, dob: 3/8/193 of Hollister, Missouri was sentenced to three (3) years for the offense of felony driving while intoxicated, and three (3) years for the offense of driving while license revoked by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr on Thursday. Both sentences are to run concurrent and probation was denied.

On January 8, 2008, DOUGLAS R. WILBUR was stopped by Taney County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis McConnell in the post office parking lot in Powersite, Missouri after Deputy McConnell observed the defendant weaving in his vehicle on State Highway VV. When Deputy McConnell made contact with the defendant he observed the odor of alcohol coming from DOUGLAS R. WILBUR, and the odor of marijuana coming from his vehicle. DOUGLAS R. WILBUR was arrested for driving while intoxicated and driving while revoked after refusing to submit to a portable breath test. At the jail the defendant showed multiple signs of impairment during the performance of sobriety tests administered by Deputy McConnell. DOUGLAS R. WILBUR also refused to submit to a chemical test of his breath.

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PLEA ENTERED IN INTERNET CHAT ROOM STING

January 15, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that MICHAEL S. PRUIETT, dob: 01-30-1972 of Ava, Missouri entered a plea of guilty yesterday in front of Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr to the class D felony of attempted sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. Formal sentencing is set for March 18, 2010.

On August 3, 2009, 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.com chat room. Contact was made with an individual under the screen name Cardsfan1029. During the chat session the individual using the screen name Cardsfan1029 began to engage in sexually explicit chatting with the undercover investigator posing as a minor. During the chat Cardsfan1029 started a webcam session where live video was shared with the undercover investigator. On the video webcam session, Cardsfan1029 exposed himself to the undercover investigator and engaged in sexual contact with himself. Through follow-up investigation, Cardsfan1029 was identified as the defendant, MICHAEL S. PRUIETT.

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