On Thursday, December 8, 2016,Ronald Robison, 38, of Rolla, pleaded guilty to the Class B Felony of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced to fifteen (15) years in the Department of Corrections. The case was prosecuted by Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox and Assistant Prosecutor Nick Chlysta.
At the plea hearing, the prosecutor recited the evidence for the Court. The evidence was that South Central Drug Task Force officers, assisted by other county law enforcement officers, executed a search warrant at Robison’s home in Phelps County. Upon their arrival, Robison had recently left the residence and went to an RV located on the property. Several baggies of methamphetamine were located throughout the house along with scales and baggies utilized in the sale of narcotics. Officers went to the RV, where they located a loaded 9MM assault rifle and a large amount of crystal methamphetamine. Robison was located hiding under the RV.
Reached for comment, Fox commended the investigation of this case. “Here is another case where the South Central Drug Task Force got another dangerous meth dealer off the streets. I shudder to think of the number of lives ruined by Ronald Robison and his kind.” Robison was sentenced as a persistent drug offender which makes him ineligible for probation or parole. “He will serve every single day of that 15 year sentence,” said Fox.
On August 22, the Honorable William E. Hickle sentenced Julian Rowland to seven years in prison for each of his three counts of rape and sodomy. By operation of law the sentences were ordered to run consecutively to one another, meaning, Roland will spend the next 21 years behind bars. The case was prosecuted by Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney, Brendon Fox. The sentencing follows a three day jury trial in June where Rowland was convicted of Rape in the First Degree and two counts of Sodomy in the First Degree.
At the sentencing hearing, evidence was heard from the victim who commented that since the guilty verdicts she has been able to “start picking up the pieces of her life.” Her husband testified that it seemed like his wife was making progress towards being who she was before the rape.
“I’m proud of the victim and the strength she showed throughout this tortuous process. I hope she is able to rebuild her life knowing Julian Rowland will not hurt anyone else for a very, very long time,” said Fox.
On August 15, 2016, Joshua T. Keeping , 34 of Rolla, pled guilty to Child Molestation for an incident in August of 2015. After pleading guilty, Cannon was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The lead investigator on the case was Det. Adam Meyer of the Rolla Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox.
On September 11, 2015, Keeping, a registered sex offender, was staying with friends in Rolla. At that time, the victim was visiting neighbors without knowledge that Keeping was there. Keeping then fondled the child victim who disclosed the conduct to another neighbor who helped report the case to police.
“A dangerous pedophile is off the streets, ” said Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox. “Due to Det. Meyer’s thorough investigation, Joshua T. Keeping, a registered sex offender from two other states should be locked up for a very, very long time.”
“I’m disgusted that Keeping was out to commit this crime. He had previously raped an unconscious 17 year old girl in Michigan and fondled his six year old niece in South Dakota.” Fox noted that because of this history, Keeping will almost certainly fall under the “Sexually Violent Predator” statute. “Given his history, he will be screened for civil commitment as a sexually violent predator. When that happens, he will be civilly committed until he is ‘fixed.’” Fox noted that less than .5% of individuals are ever released because you “can’t fix pedophiles.” “You might look at it as a life sentence,” said Fox.
On August 18, 2016, Kenneth Cannon, Jr. , 19 of Rolla, pled guilty to Assault in the 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action for a shooting incident in February 2015. After pleading guilty, Cannon was sentenced to nine years on the Assault and three years for the Armed Criminal Action in the Missouri Department of Corrections to be served consecutively to one another. The lead investigator on the case was Det. Adam Meyer of the Rolla Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox.
On February 24, 2015, Cannon’s co-conspirator, Ashleigh Marvin, lured the victim to the Autobahn Walking Trail. In an effort to rob the victim, Cannon pulled a gun and attempted to shoot the victim. The victim was able to play dead and when an opening presented itself he fled for his life. Marvin attempted to report that she was the victim of a rape, but her story quickly unraveled as it became clear she and Cannon had planned the Robbery.
“We were really lucky we didn’t have a dead body, ” said Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox. “Good job to Det. Meyer and the Rolla Police Department with conducting a top notch investigation and removing two dangerous and violent people from the streets.”
Marvin had previously pleaded guilty and received 10 years in prison for her part in the Attempted Robbery and Assault. Both Marvin and Cannon will have to serve 85% of their sentences before they will be eligible for parole.
On Thursday, the Honorable John D. Beger sentenced Justin Harrison, 30 of St. James, to 15 years in prison for his 5th DWI in the last five years. The sentence was the maximum allowed by law.
Officer Tony Gray of the St. James Police Department arrested Harrison on March 16, 2016 after a number of traffic violations. Despite the overwhelming smell of alcohol on his breath, Harrison initially denied drinking that evening. A breathalyzer determined otherwise as Harrison had a BAC of .223%, almost three times the legal limit.
Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox was complimentary of Officer Gray. “Tony did a great job and probably saved a life on March 16.” Fox also noted that DWI prosecution continues to be a focus of his administration. “Whether it is ‘No-Refusal’ or seeking harsh sentences for repeat offenders, my office will continue to make every effort to work with the police to eradicate DWIs in Phelps County. DWI offenders put everyone’s lives at risk when they make the irresponsible choice to get behind the wheel.”