The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce the addition of Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rachel Hopper as of September 17, 2015. Rachel first joined the Christian County Prosecutor’s Office as a law student intern in May of 2014 before becoming an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in September of 2015. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies—Political Science from Missouri State University in 2010. She received her Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2015. As a law student, Rachel worked on criminal cases with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio, and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield, Missouri.
OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced that on July 1, 2015, JESUS A. PADILLA DOB: 11/14/1992 formerly of Nixa, MO, appeared in front of Special Judge Calvin Holden and plead guilty to murder in the second degree and armed criminal action and pursuant to the terms of a plea agreement was sentenced to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the murder in the second degree and three years in the Missouri Department of Correction for armed criminal action. The counts are to be served concurrently.
Murder in the Second Degree is a class A felony. The range of punishment is 10 years to 30 years or life in the Missouri Department of Corrections. By statute an offender must serve 85% of the sentence prior to becoming eligible for parole.
Armed Criminal Action is an unclassified felony. The range of punishment is a minimum term of three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. For this offense an offender is not eligible for probation.
This case was investigated by the Nixa Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Prosecuting Attorney Amy Fite
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OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces that Ryan W. Swearengin, dob: 07-13-1984 of Ozark, MO, pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement on April 27, 2015, and was sentenced on June 22, 2015, to two counts of rape in the first degree, three counts of sodomy in the first degree, two counts of victim tampering, and two counts of harassment in front of the Honorable Judge Eighmy. Per the terms of the plea agreement, Swearengin received a total sentence of 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The charges stem from a September 2014 event involving two juvenile victims.
Judge Eighmy sentenced the defendant to 25 years for each count of rape in the first degree, and 25 years for each count of sodomy in the first degree. Those counts are to run concurrently to one another. Additionally, Judge Eighmy sentenced the defendant to five years for each count of victim tampering and five years for each count of harassment. Those counts are to run concurrently with one another but consecutive to the rape and sodomy charges for a total of 30 years confinement in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Swearengin was also found to be a prior and persistent felony offender by the court due to his prior convictions for the felonies of tampering with a motor vehicle and unlawful use of a weapon.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Agi Prevendarcsik and was investigated by the Christian County Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with the Ozark Police Department.
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The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office has opening for a full-time Investigator. This position will be housed in the Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The position will act as a liaison between the two offices. The position will also act as a liaison with all law enforcement agencies in Christian County. Responsibilities will include serving subpoenas, transporting victim and witnesses, transporting and accompanying prosecutors if meeting with victim and witnesses outside the PA office or visiting a crime scene, running criminal histories, ordering certified priors, requesting evidence from the various Christian County law enforcement offices. The position requires POST certification. The investigator will work independently, be time efficient, able to manage numerous projects at one time, be a self-starter and a team player. The investigator will be commissioned and maintain a commission as a Christian County deputy. It is preferred the candidate will have a minimum of three (3) years law enforcement experience and preferably experience as an investigator in a prosecuting attorney’s office.
The position will be responsible to securely maintain all evidence in the PA office and maintaining a system to log evidence in when received from a law enforcement agency and when returned to a law enforcement agency. The position will be responsible to assist with audio/visual needs in the courtroom and be responsible to maintain a log of all equipment in the CCPA office. The position will be available to Sheriff’s Office in major case investigations to serve as an additional investigator as needed.
The compensation will include salary and benefits. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.
The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is a file-less office. The office currently includes four full-time assistant prosecuting attorneys and one part-time assistant prosecuting attorney, two victim advocates and five legal assistants.
If interested please send a cover letter and resume to:
Christian County Prosecuting Attorney
110 W. Elm, Room 109
Ozark, MO 65721
Resumes will be accepted until position is filled.
OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces that on May 7, 2015, Robert W. Berry, D.O.B. 12-28-1965, was sentenced to a total of 28 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for the January 9, 2011 shooting of his former mother-in-law. The Honorable Senior Judge J. Miles Sweeney pronounced the sentence following an approximate six hour sentencing hearing during which the State presented evidence of the aggravating factors surrounding the shooting. The Court imposed a sentence of 25 years for the crime of assault in the first degree, a sentence of 3 years for the crime of armed criminal action, and a sentence of 10 years for the crime of burglary in the first degree. The sentences for assault in the first degree and armed criminal action are to run consecutively. The sentence imposed for burglary in the first degree is to run concurrent to count I and II. The State requested a life in prison for the assault in the first degree, 100 years in prison for armed criminal action, and 15 years in prison for burglary in the first degree, with all counts to run consecutively. The defendant requested 15 years in prison on each count to run concurrently.
Prior to pronouncing sentence, the Court heard the details surrounding the January 9, 2011 shooting where Robert Berry entered the residence of D.W. without permission, armed with two firearms, with the intent to kill D.W. Berry shot and disabled D.W.’s dog and waited in the residence for her to arrive home from church. Once D.W. entered her residence, Berry shot her multiple times in the head and body. Berry also struck D.W. in the head multiple times with the butt of the rifle and with a crowbar. D.W. was able to escape and run to a nearby residence for help. D.W. sustained permanent injuries as a result of being shot.
Detectives from the Christian County Sheriff’s Office recovered a magazine tube, numerous shell casings, and a crowbar from the scene. The magazine tube was analyzed at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Lab and finger prints matching Berry were found.
Following the shooting Robert Berry fled the state. He was located in Arkansas on January 13, 2011. Items inside the car included woman’s clothing, a woman’s wig, and an atlas. In addition, Robert Berry had altered his appearance by shaving his head. Additionally in the vehicle there was a pair of blue jeans, the jeans were sent for analysis at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Lab in Springfield; who found blood on the jeans and further lab analysis found the DNA consistent with D.W.
Under Count I: assault first degree the range of punishment is 10 years to 30 years or life in the Missouri Department of Corrections and currently a defendant must serve 85% of any sentence before being eligible for parole. Currently, life, unless designated without the possibility of parole, is calculated at 30 years for determination of parole eligibility. Under Count II: armed criminal action the range of punishment is a minimum term of three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. There is no maximum term of years. Under Count III: burglary in the first degree the range of punishment is 5 to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kristen M. Tuohy and Christian County Prosecutor Amy Fite. The Christian County Sheriff’s Department investigated the crime.
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