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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Two indicted in Porter homicide

Friday, October 5, 2012

After an 18-month investigation, two men have been indicted for the April 2011 homicide of Rebecca and Russell Porter, of Willard.

Rebecca Porter is the sister of Monett contractor Jim Hufft.

On Oct. 3, a grand jury in Taney County handed down two counts of first degree felony murder against Tony Friend, of Springfield, and Dusty Hicks, of Walnut Grove, for the April 18 deaths of the Porters.

According to the indictment, Friend, 44, and Hicks, 25. "acting with one or more other persons, after deliberation, knowingly caused the death" of the Porters by shooting them.

Both men are also facing counts of felony felonious restraint for each of the Porters and two counts of felony armed criminal action.

Friend, who has been identified as a cousin of Russell Porter by family members, was arrested with Windy Friend, 31, on May 30 on a Greene County warrant for alleged possession of methamphetamine. At that time, Tony Friend was also arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Windy Friend was released on bond. Drug charges were dropped against both men in August. Court papers filed in connection with the drug arrest identified Tony Friend as the primary suspect in the Porter homicides.

Documents in the homicide investigation were unsealed in Greene County Circuit Court in July, revealing officers believed Friend had been near the wooded area close to Protem where the bodies of the Porters were found on July 21.

Additional documents cited testimony by a fellow Greene County jail inmate who reported Friend claiming responsibility for the deaths of the Porters. Using the inmate's information, detectives researched authorization to search a maroon briefcase used by Friend that contained shotgun ammunition and an inert grenade, among other items.

The murder counts include a range of punishment from life imprisonment without parole to the death penalty.

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