CCPA Office Participates in Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk

On Saturday October 22, 2016, the Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s office walked in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer annual 3 mile walk.  The CCPA office had an 8 person team that consisted of Christian County Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite, Investigator Amy Zacek-Smith, Legal Assistant  Dale Tavares and several supportive family members.  The team members raised money, made donations and walked as part of more than one million volunteers across the country that walk and raise money for the Making Strides Program.   Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks are the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting communities with a shared determination to help free the world from the pain and suffering of breast cancer. walk1

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AMY FITE BECOMES MAPA PRESIDENT

Amy Fite is set to take the helm of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (MAPA). Fite, who is the Christian County Prosecuting Attorney, will lead the Association that represents Missouri’s prosecutors over the next two years.

“We are faced with an ongoing dialogue about ways to reform our criminal justice system,” said Fite. However, very few of these ideas involve protecting the rights of crime victims or standing up for the good work that law enforcement officers do every day when they place their lives on the line for us. We must ensure that any changes to our criminal justice system do not sacrifice public safety or victims’ rights.

“Some of these ideas are rooted in myth and must be de-bunked. For example, simply reacting to the myth of “mass incarceration” of the wrong people could result in us opening the floodgates of our prisons and putting violent criminals back on the streets. The facts speak otherwise. We know that just 1% of the criminals in Missouri’s prisons are first-time, non-violent felony offenders. The other 99% are repeat career criminals, violent offenders or probation and parole violators. In other words, Missouri’s prisons are occupied by exactly who we would expect and need to be there. Instead of swinging prison doors wide open and returning violent and career criminals to our streets, we should invest in programs that keep people from winding up in prison in the first place, such as treatment courts that get offenders needed treatment instead of incarceration; diversion programs that replace jail time with things like community service, drug and alcohol testing, counseling, and supervision; swift, certain, and short jail stays for offenders who violate the terms of their probation; and re-entry programs that help prisoners transition back into the community after release.

“Likewise, efforts to ‘legalize’ marijuana rely on the myth that marijuana is harmless or medicine. It is neither. Today’s marijuana is far more addictive than it was 40 years ago, and it is driven by a cash-industry that markets the product to youth, hoping to hook them early as life-long customers. True medicine is tested and approved through the FDA, and there are some promising tests for pain relief and epilepsy going through that process right now. We need to focus efforts on those tests and trust in legitimate, scientific research instead of allowing the promoters of greed and addiction to cash in on our empathy for others.”

Fite is the 47th president of MAPA since its inception in 1969. She succeeds immediate past-president and Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman. Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson is the Association’s president-elect. Other officers include Daviess County Prosecuting Attorney Annie Gibson and St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar.

Fite has over 17 years of prosecution experience. After graduating cum laude from St. Louis University School of Law in 1997, she started as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Christian County, where she was the narcotics prosecutor and prosecuted a caseload of mainly methamphetamine cases. Next, Fite spent approximately 8 years at the Circuit Attorney’s Office in the City of St. Louis, where she served in the Drug Court, Domestic Violence Unit, General Felony Trial Staff, Gang Unit, and the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit. Fite also spent over two years as the Trial Trainer, where she trained the incoming assistant circuit attorneys in how to prepare and try jury trials. While at the Circuit Attorney’s Office, Fite participated in well over 100 jury trials, including successfully convicting murderers, robbers, rapists and child sex offenders. In 2008, she joined the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as the First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the General Crimes Unit, where she supervised seven attorneys in a unit responsible for prosecuting property crimes, bad checks, DWIs and traffic related crimes. As the elected prosecutor of Christian County, Fite continues to carry a caseload that includes murders and sexually related crimes.

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JEREMY T. GENIUK SENTENCED TO TWENTY YEARS

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces that Jeremy T. Geniuk, dob: 10-19-1988 formerly of Springfield, MO, was sentenced on September 16, 2016 following having pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement on January 8, 2016 to nine counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree of a child less than 14.  On September 16, 2016, the defendant was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Laura Johnson.  Per the terms of the plea agreement the sentenced was capped at twenty (20) years with the State requesting twenty (20) years on all counts and the defendant able to request any other lesser sentence available within the range of punishment.  The State requested the court sentence defendant to twenty (20) years on all counts to run concurrent and the defendant asked the court to sentence him to eight (8) to ten (10) years on all counts to run concurrent.  After a lengthy hearing on sentencing, the Honorable Laura Johnson sentenced GENIUK to twenty (20) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on all nine counts to run concurrent.   This was the maximum sentence the defendant faced pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement.    The charges stem from offenses that occurred in a residence located in Christian County Missouri during the summer of 2015.  The child victim was 13 years old during the time frame.

This matter was investigated by the Nixa Police Department and prosecuted by Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite.

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CHRISTIAN COUNTY JURY FINDS MARK ADAM PEIRANO GUILTY OF STATUTORY SODOMY FIRST DEGREE OF A CHILD LESS THAN TWELVE AND FIVE COUNTS OF CHILD MOLESTATION IN THE FIRST DEGREE

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced that MARK ADAM PEIRANO dob:  07/24/1972 formerly of Spokane Missouri was found guilty on August 25, 2016 by a Christian County jury of one count of statutory sodomy in the first degree of a child less than twelve and five counts of child molestation in the first degree   A jury trial was commenced before the Honorable Judge Eric Eighmy on August 22, 2016 and concluded on August 25, 2016.

The jury deliberated for over an hour before finding the defendant guilty of all counts charged.  During the course of the trial the jury had heard evidence regarding prior sexual offenses committed by the defendant.  After finding the defendant guilty, the jury was asked to deliberate for a second time to determine whether or not the defendant was a predatory sexual offender.   The jury found defendant to be a predatory sexual offender.

Formal sentencing is scheduled before the Honorable Eric Eighmy on December 19, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

The range of punishment statutory sodomy in the first degree of a child less than twelve and child molestation in the first degree when the offender has been found to be a predatory sexual offender is a life sentence with eligibility for parole.  The number of years the offender must serve prior to being eligible for parole is determined by the court and must be a number of years within the range to which the person could have been sentenced if not found to be a predatory sexual offender.  Pursuant to current statute the range of punishment for statutory sodomy in the first degree of a child less than twelve is a term of years not less than ten or life.  The range of punishment for child molestation in the first degree class B felony is five years to fifteen years. Pursuant to current statute an offender found to be a predatory sexual offender shall not receive a final discharge from parole.

The investigation of this case was handled by Sgt. Shayne Duryea of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite with First Assistant Kristen Tuohy assisting during the jury trial.

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NEW SR. ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

Shown is new Sr. APA John Young being sworn in by Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite

Shown is new Sr. APA John Young being sworn in by Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite

John joined the Christian County Prosecutor’s Office in August of 2016.  John received his undergraduate degree in 1986 from Missouri State University majoring in Political Science and a minor in history. He received his Juris Doctorate from University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law in 1989.