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.