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PC man placed on probation

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The third person arrested in connection with the 2007 alcohol poisoning death of a Verona teenager appeared before Barry County Associate Circuit Court Judge Carr Woods last week.

The judge placed Dennis D. Meinke, Jr., of Pierce City, on two years supervised probation and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service. Meinke pleaded guilty to seven counts of knowingly allowing or failing to stop a person under 21 from drinking or possessing alcohol.

Meinke's charges stemmed from a March 3, 2007, birthday party that was held in a Monett apartment that Meinke and Joseph H. Rattles were renting.

Jessica Murphy, an 18-year-old Verona teen-ager, attended the party and was found dead in one of the apartment's bedrooms the next morning. According to autopsy reports, Murphy died from alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol level was .406, which is five times the legal limit.

Rattles was also charged with seven counts of knowingly allowing or failing to stop a person under 21 from drinking or possessing alcohol. On May 12, Barry County Associate Court Judge Victor Head placed Rattles on two years supervised probation and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service.

At the time the charges were filed against Meinke and Rattles, Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox said they were the first "House Party" charges he had ever filed under a new Missouri House Party law.

Cox also filed manslaughter charges against Brandon K. Himes, 24, of Monett, who admitted he poured 12 ounces of tequila, 12 ounces of vodka and some beer into a funnel, called a "beer bong," which Murphy drank.

Himes was sentenced in March to four years in prison after pleading guilty to the reduced charge of second degree involuntary manslaughter.



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