On Friday afternoon, August 3, 2018, DAKOTA CLAYPOLE, d/o/b 7-15-1995, of Branson, was sentenced to twenty-one (21) years in prison for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, in the Circuit Court of Greene County, Missouri. Claypole’s case had been moved to Greene County on a change of venue from Taney County, and on May 4, 2018, Claypole had pleaded guilty to the felonies before Circuit Judge Calvin Holden.
Claypole’s charges stemmed from a shooting on January 16, 2017, at a residence on Rainbow Drive, in Branson. Taney County Sheriff deputies responded to the residence and discovered Daxton Drake, age 22 years, had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Drake was pronounced dead at the scene. A witness – who was romantically involved with both Claypole and Drake – explained that she and Drake were in bed together when Claypole walked up the stairs leading into the bedroom, and brandished a handgun. Claypole verbally confronted Drake and fired a gunshot in his direction. Then, Drake stood up and Claypole fired multiple gunshots into Drake, killing him. Claypole fled the residence driving Drake’s automobile and was arrested by Highway Patrol Troopers and Branson Police Officers a few miles away.
“Law enforcement officers did an excellent job the night of January 16, 2017, of apprehending the murder suspect in very short order,” said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell. “This was important to the success of the investigation, as well in assuring community safety. I’m very proud of the work done by officers and investigators in solving this murder.”
Specifically, Judge Holden sentenced Claypole to twenty-one (21) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for second-degree murder, and twenty-one (21) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for armed criminal action, with the sentences to run concurrently with one another. The class A felony of murder in the second degree carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years or life imprisonment – with the possibility of parole. The unclassified felony of armed criminal action carries a minimum sentence of three (3) years in prison, with no maximum.