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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fifth person indicted in Porters homicides

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hearings have been scheduled in January, 2013, for four of five suspects facing first degree murder charges in the deaths of Rebecca and Russell Porter, of Willard. Indictments handed down last week brought charges against the fifth person in the case and amended charges against another.

Rebecca Porter was the sister of Monett contractor Jim Hufft.

A grand jury indictment filed Dec. 19 led to a court appearance on Dec. 20 by Robert L. Campbell, 68, of Willard. Campbell is the uncle of Russell Porter and lived next to the home where the Porters disappeared on April 19, 2011. The bodies of the couple were found in July 2011 near Protem.

Campbell is facing first-degree murder charges for each of the victims. He is scheduled for arraignment before Taney County Circuit Judge Mark Estle Orr, who is handling all of the Porter homicide cases, on Jan. 10, 2013.

According to Jeff Merrell, Taney County prosecutor, Campbell and the Porters had engaged in an ongoing dispute. Orders of protection had been issued for both sides by the Greene County Circuit Court.

Campbell does not have an attorney of record.

The indictment handed down on Dec. 19 superceded the charges against Windy Dawn Friend, 31, of Springfield, who is also facing two counts of first degree murder. Friend is scheduled for arraignment on new charges on Jan. 3, 2013. Her attorney, Scott Johnson, of Springfield, withdrew from the case on Dec. 17. She is also facing vehicle tampering charges in Barry County from 2011.

Windy Friend is wife of Tony Friend, 44, of Springfield, who is facing two counts of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and two counts of Class C felonious restraint for killing the Porters. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Orr on Jan. 17, 2013. Friend is being held in the Greene County jail on federal firearms possession charges and county drug possession charges. His attorney is Kevin Babcock, of Ava.

A warrant was issued on Oct. 31, 2012, for the arrest on Phillip Friend, 26, of Kansas City, the son of Tony Friend. He waived formal arraignment on Dec. 6 on two counts of first degree murder, armed criminal action and felonious restraint. Phillip Friend is scheduled to appear before Judge Orr on Feb. 7, 2013. He is represented by attorney Clate Baker of Springfield.

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2013 for Dusty Hicks, 25, of Walnut Grove. Hicks was indicted on Oct. 3, 2012, at the same time the murder charges were filed against Tony Friend. Hicks is also charged with two counts of first degree murder, armed criminal action and felonious restraint.

During a hearing on Dec. 13, Judge Orr granted a change of venue motion by Hicks. Rather than moving the trial from Taney County, a jury from outside of the Springfield area will be brought in to hear the case. Hicks is represented by attorney Tim Finnical, of Forsyth.

The grand jury that has handed down indictments in the case remains open, so that other charges in the case are possible.

Hufft told The Times the family of Rebecca Porter has been pleased by the efforts of the Taney County prosecutor's office. A substantial amount of evidence has been compiled in the case. The family is still waiting for prosecutors to announce a motive for the murders.

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