Taney County Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Merrell, announced today that TONY FRIEND, DOB: 12/22/1967, of Springfield, Missouri, entered a guilty plea Tuesday morning, December 17, 2013, to two (2) felonies, in the Taney County Circuit Court. Friend pleaded guilty to two (2) counts of murder in the first degree, pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. In exchange for Friend’s guilty pleas, two (2) counts of armed criminal action and two (2) counts of felonious restraint were dismissed. Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr accepted Friend’s guilty plea, and scheduled formal sentencing for February 13, 2014.
The only sentence for murder in the first degree that Tony Friend can receive is life in prison without the possibility of parole. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Friend’s life sentences are to be concurrent.
Tony Friend was indicted by a Taney County grand jury in 2012 on those felonies for his role in the disappearance and deaths of Russell and Rebecca Porter, of Willard, Missouri, occurring April 18, 2011. Tony’s son, Phillip Friend, previously pled guilty to murder in the second degree and felonious restraint. Tony’s wife, Windy Friend, still faces first-degree murder charges, along with Dusty Hicks, and Robert Campbell. The trials for Windy Friend, Dusty Hicks, and Robert Campbell are currently scheduled for 2014.