red ribbon



August 11, 2010

On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, a 4-man, 8-woman jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes before returning a guilty verdict against Donald Shane Sperling, alias Donald Shane Kennemer, alias Donald S. Kenner, of Ava (d.o.b. 07/02/1969). Sperling was on trial for first-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action stemming from a stabbing in Hollister on June 25, 2009. The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Sperling stabbed his live-in girlfriend eight times in the front yard of her residence. The victim entered her home, bleeding uncontrollably, and told her teenage son and his friends she had been “hit” by Sperling. The victim’s 17-year old son ran outside in search of Sperling, but Sperling had fled the area. The victim’s son then organized his friends to assist him in putting pressure on his mother’s wounds, calling 9-1-1, and driving his mother to meet paramedics at the McDonald’s parking lot in Hollister, Missouri. “The victim’s son acted heroically in the June 25th emergency,” says Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell. “Few teenagers would have had the maturity and nerves to respond the way he did in his mother’s time of crisis. He saved his mother’s life.”

Taney County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the scene of the assault, finding trails of blood, but no sign of Sperling. A locked Ford Tempo was parked outside the residence while officers canvassed the neighborhood and adjacent wooded-area for the defendant on June 25th and 26th. Approximately one-half hour after officers left the residence, neighbors noticed that the Ford Tempo was gone. The car was reported stolen and found several days later abandoned in Springfield, Missouri. At midday on June 26th, Sperling turned himself in at the Ava Police Department with the explanation that he believed Taney County was looking for him. Ava officers noticed fresh scratches covering the arms of Sperling, and the scratches were photographed. No explanation could be provided for how Sperling arrived in Ava after the stabbing.

“My sincerest thanks goes out to the Taney County Sheriff’s Department, specifically Corporal Robert Stirewalt and Detective Roger Ellis, for their professional investigative work,” said Merrell. “A special acknowledgement of appreciation also goes out to the Taney County Ambulance District and their employees who were able to help save the life of the victim of this heinous attack.”

Sperling’s motivation for the attack on his girlfriend appeared to be jealousy. Sperling was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender by the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. He will be sentenced in the Circuit Court of Taney County by Judge Mark Orr on November 4, 2010.

Topics: News, Press Releases |


August 8, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that FRANK COITO, dob: 07/02/1986 of Branson, Missouri entered a plea of guilty without a plea agreement on Thursday to the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance in front of Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr. FRANK COITO was set to begin a jury trial Monday morning.

On August 4, 2008, members of the COMET drug task force were alerted by UPS that a package was to be delivered to the defendant, FRANK COITO in Branson and that the package contained contraband. The COMET drug task force intercepted and inspected the package. Inside the package they discovered sixty blue pills of Oxycontin, a controlled substance hidden inside a jar of peanut butter. The package was resealed and a COMET drug task force officer completed a controlled delivery of the package to FRANK COITO. During the arrest and subsequent search of FRANK COITO”s residenc,e COMET drug task force officers discovered numerous items of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Formal sentencing is set for October 21, 2010.  As there was no plea agreement FRANK COITO faces the entire range of punishment.  The class C felony of possession of controlled substance has a range of punishment of one (1) day to one (1) year in the Taney County Jail, or one (1) year to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars (5,000).

Topics: News, Press Releases |


July 22, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell is pleased to announce that on July 29th, 2010 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, a free training, “Determining the Dominant Aggressor in Domestic Violence Cases” is being hosted for law enforcement, prosecutors and allied professionals. This course will delve into the dynamics of family violence, will show how to determine the dominant aggressor, as well as offer investigation and documentation strategies for success in the resolution of these cases. The training is certified for 2 hours of POST Continuing Education Legal credits & 2 hours Interpersonal Credit by the Missouri Department of Public Safety POST program or 4 hours of CLE by the Missouri Bar.

For more information about this training please download the forms below:


Topics: News, Press Releases |


July 19, 2010

Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeffrey M. Merrell announced today that PETER OLSON, dob: 9/16/1972 was sentenced by Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Orr last Thursday to five years (5) for the class C felony of assault of a law enforcement officer in the second degree, five years (5) for the class C felony of stealing, five years (5) for the class C felony of unlawful use of a weapon and four (4) years for the class D felony of property damage in the first degree. Probation was denied.

On July 15, 2009, during a investigation at the Lost Tree Apartment Complex in Taney County, Missouri PETER OLSON was arrested and detained inside a Stone County Sheriff’s vehicle. During his arrest, PETER OLSON got in the driver seat of the vehicle and attempted to escape. During his escape PETER OLSON struck another patrol vehicle, and nearly ran over a law enforcement officer. A spike strip was deployed at U.S. 65 and Route EE, and the vehicle was finally stopped.  Deputies had to deploy a taser device to subdue the defendant PETER OLSON. PETER OLSON was a convicted felon and present inside the Stone County Sheriff’s vehicle was a service rifle.

Topics: News, Press Releases |

« Previous Entries Next Entries »