June 22, 2010
Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that JAMES L. SMITH, dob: 11/13/1958 of Forsyth, Missouri was sentenced to six years in the Missouri Department of Corrections by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr for the class C felony of receiving stolen property as a prior and persistent felony offender. Probation was denied. On February 4, 2010, Griffith Bail Bonds in Forsyth, Missouri was broken into. Electronics and other items were stolen from the business. Through investigation by Chief Mike Womack of the Forsyth Police Department and Detective Rick Hill of the Taney County Sheriff’s Department, JAMES L. SMITH was developed as a suspect in the stolen property. Officers made contact with JAMES L. SMITH at his residence and were able to recover some of the items stolen from the business. Smith admitted to officers that he intended to sell the stolen computer and two-way radios he possessed. He was later charged by the prosecutor’s office with one count of the class c felony of receiving stolen property for being in possession of these stolen items.
June 16, 2010
Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that DON OWENS, dob: 12-07-1974 was sentenced Thursday by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr to fifteen (15) years for the class A felony of possession of a controlled substance as a prior and persistent felony drug offender, and seven (7) years for the class C felony of attempted stealing as a prior and persistent felony offender. Probation was denied and both sentences are to run concurrent.
On February 18, 2010, Officers with the Branson Police Department responded to the Branson Landing to investigate a suspicious backpack that was left in front of an ATM machine. Inside the backpack officers discovered burglary tools and a small incendiary device. The Springfield Police Department Bomb Squad was brought in for security purposes to detonate the backpack. Later through surveillance video, DON OWENS was discovered to be the owner of the backpack. Upon a consent search of DON OWENS room at a local hotel , Branson Police Officers discovered a baggie containing a white crystal substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine as well as receipts tying DON OWENS to the backpack left in front of the ATM machine. Through their investigation, Branson detectives learned that DON OWENS was attempting to break into the ATM machine on the landing through a method he learned on the popular internet video site, YouTube.
June 10, 2010
Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that PETER NEWMAN, dob: 10-30-1975, was sentenced today by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr to life imprisonment on each of two counts of the unclassified felony statutory sodomy in the first degree, seven years on each of three counts of the class C felony of statutory sodomy in the second degree, and thirty years on each of three counts of the unclassified felony of enticement of a child. Probation was denied on all counts. The thirty year sentence and seven year sentences are to run concurrent to each other and consecutive to each life sentence. On February 18, 2010 PETER NEWMAN entered a plea of guilty without a plea agreement to the eight counts listed above.
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May 12, 2010
Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that MICHAEL L. ERB, dob: 8/11/1968 of Hollister, Missouri was sentenced yesterday by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr to ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for two counts of the class B felony of child molestation in the first degree. Probation was denied and both counts are to run concurrent. On December 1, 2009 a bench trial was held in Christian County on a change of venue motion filed by the defense.
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.
The class B felony of child molestation in the first degree has a range of punishment of five (5) to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
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