Jury Finds Steven McMullen Guilty on Manufacturing More Than 35 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

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Contact: Anna L. Bunch                                                                                                                   Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney                                                                           (417) 581-7915

 Date: September 27, 2018

 RE: CHRISTIAN COUNTY JURY FINDS STEVEN MCMULLEN GUILTY                                OF MANUFACTURING MORE THAN 35 GRAMS OF MARIJUANA                                AND UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces that Steven McMullen DOB: March 1, 1960, of Nixa, Missouri was found guilty after a two-day jury trial held September 24-25, 2018. The jury trial commenced before the Honorable Judge Jennifer Growcock.

The Christian County jury found the defendant guilty of both counts: manufacturing more than 35 grams of marijuana and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.  The jury deliberated for approximately one and a half hours before finding the defendant guilty.  Formal sentencing was scheduled before the Honorable Judge Jennifer Growcock on November 28, 2018.

The range of punishment for manufacturing more than 35 grams of marijuana is normally 3 to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine up to $10,000. However, the defendant is a prior drug offender and is therefore facing an increased range of punishment. The increased range of punishment is 5 to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.  The range of punishment for the unlawful use of drug paraphernalia is 1 day to 1 year in the Christian County Jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.

The investigation of this case was handled by Nixa Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Anna Bunch.

A copy of this press release may be found here.

Jury Finds Michael Burge Guilty On Charges of Statutory Sodomy and Child Molestation

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Contact: Amy Fite                                                                                                                              Prosecuting Attorney                                                                                                        (417) 581-7915

DATE: September 27, 2018

RE: CHRISTIAN COUNTY JURY FINDS MICHAEL D. BURGE GUILTY OF STATUTORY SODOMY 1st DEGREE OF A CHILD LESS THAN 12 AND CHILD MOLESTATION 1st Degree

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices announces that MICHAEL D. BURGE DOB: 12/16/1959 formerly of Ballwin, Missouri was found guilty on September 19, 2018 by a Christian County jury of statutory sodomy 1st degree of a child less than 12 and child molestation 1st degree.  A jury trial commenced before the Honorable Judge Jennifer Growcock on June 17, 2018 and concluded on June 19, 2018.

The jury retired to deliberate at approximately 6:44 p.m. and shortly before 10:00 p.m. returned a guilty verdict on each count.  Formal sentencing will be scheduled before the Honorable Judge Jennifer Growcock.

The range of punishment for statutory sodomy first degree of a child less than 12 is a term not less than ten years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or a life sentence.  The range of punishment for the child molestation in the first degree – class B felony is a term of 5 to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.  In this case, the defendant was alleged, and found to be, a predatory sexual offender, and therefore is subject to an enhanced range of punishment for count I and II.  The enhanced sentence for each count is a life sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections with eligibility for parole.  Per statute, the court shall set the term of years the person must serve prior to becoming eligible for parole.  Per statute, the term of years shall be any numbers of years to which the person could have been sentenced if the person was not found to be a predatory sexual offender.  In no event will a person found to be a predatory sexual offender receive final discharge from parole.

The investigation of this case was handled by Christian County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant Kristen Tuohy.  Other members of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office assigned to this case include:  Shannon Stephens, Victim Advocate; Suzanne Frakes, Legal Assistant; Amy Zacek-Smith, Investigator.

A copy of this press release may be found here.

Doyle Hitchcock Sentenced To Seven Consecutive Life Sentences Plus Seven Years On Charges Of Forcible Sodomy, Forcible Rape, And Endangering The Welfare Of A Child

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Contact: Amy Fite, Prosecuting Attorney                                                                                     (417) 581-7915

DATE: September 13, 2018

RE: DOYLE HITCHCOCK SENTENCED TO SEVEN CONSECUTIVE LIFE SENTENCES PLUS SEVEN YEARS FOLLOWING GUILTY VERDICT BY CHRISTIAN COUNTY JURY.

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces that DOYLE  E HITCHCOCK dob: 06/28/1963 formerly of Ozark, Missouri was formally sentenced by the Honorable Jennifer Growcock on September 12, 2018. After denying defendant’s motion for a new trial, Judge Growcock sentenced the defendant to the maximum sentence of a life sentence on each of the convictions for forcible rape and forcible sodomy totaling seven life sentences.  The Court ran these seven life sentences consecutive to one another.  The Court further sentenced the defendant to the maximum term of seven years on all six of the endangering the welfare of a child counts, running these counts concurrent to one another and consecutive to the life sentences.  Thus, the defendant was sentenced to a total sentence of seven consecutive life sentences plus seven years.

Hitchcock was found guilty on June 7, 2018 by a Christian County jury of five counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of forcible rape and five counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.  A jury trial commenced before the Honorable Judge Jennifer Growcock on June 4, 2018 and concluded with a guilty verdict on June 7, 2018.

The range of punishment forcible sodomy and forcible rape is a term not less than five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or a life sentence.  The range of punishment for the endangering the welfare of a child is a term of incarceration up to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a fine up to $5,000.

The investigation of this case was handled by Christian County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Tuohy.  The staff assisting this case included:  Victim Advocate Shannon Stephens, Legal Assistant Suzanne Frakes, and Investigator Amy Zacek-Smith.

A copy of this press release may be found here.

Blankenship Pleads Guilty to Elder Abuse and Domestic Assault

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CONTACT: PROSECUTING ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
JANETTE BLEAU
417-581-7915

DATE: MAY 9, 2018

RE: ZEBANIAH BLANKENSHIP PLEADS GUILTY TO ELDER ABUSE IN THE SECOND DEGREE AND DOMESTIC ASSAULT IN THE SECOND DEGREE.

OZARK, MO – The Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announces Zebaniah Blankenship pled guilty on April 26, 2018 to elder abuse in the second degree, a class B felony and domestic assault in the second degree, a class C felony. He received a nine (9) year sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each count to run concurrent to one another.

The incident occurred on October 25, 2016 at the victim’s home. Blankenship struck a family member who was over the age of sixty in the face with his hand and a piece of plastic lawn furniture thereby fracturing the victim’s nose. 911 was called by a neighbor and Blankenship fled from the scene. Officers from the Ozark Police Department arrived and the victim was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Blankenship is a persistent felony offender in that he has prior felony convictions for forgery, distribution of a controlled substance and possession of controlled substance.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Janette Bleau. The Ozark Police Department and the Division of Health and Senior Services investigated the crime.

A copy of this press release may be found here.

Derrick Hough Sentenced to Department of Corrections

OZARK, MO—On January 18, 2018, the Honorable Jennifer Growcock, Circuit Judge of Division 2 of the Christian County Circuit Court, sentenced former Ozark resident Derrick Hough (27) to 6 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections . Hough was charged as a prior and persistent felony offender. Hough was sentenced to 6 years to run concurrent for six counts of receiving stolen property (Class C Felony), which were all for firearms stolen from a family member’s residence.

The case was prosecuted by Rachel E. Hopper, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. This case was investigated by the Ozark Police Department.