On Sunday, June 10, 2018, a program on the Oxygen channel (Local channels: Suddenlink 79, DirecTV 251, Dish Network 127) will feature a Taney County murder case – the 2011 murders of Russell and Rebecca Porter, who were kidnapped from their home in Willard, Missouri, and were shot to death in Cedarcreek, Missouri. The investigation into the disappearance of the Porters was initiated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, on April 18, 2011, but ultimately became a collaborative effort among numerous law enforcement agencies – primarily Greene County, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Taney County Sheriff’s Office.
Five (5) defendants were eventually convicted for their involvement in the murders: Tony Friend, Windy Friend, Dusty Hicks, Phillip Friend, and Robert Campbell. Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Merrell presented the cases against the five (5) defendants to a Taney County grand jury, won convictions in jury trials against Windy Friend and Robert Campbell, and negotiated guilty pleas from Tony Friend, Dusty Hicks, and Phillip Friend.
In July of 2017, the Investigation Discovery channel series ‘On the Case with Paula Zahn’ featured the same Taney County murder case. “This case has received a lot of attention over the past few years because of its breadth, complexity, and successful prosecutions,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “Many people contributed to the discovery of the truth behind the murders of Russell and Rebecca. The killers are behind bars now thanks to the collaborative effort of everyone involved in this investigation.”