Monett man found not guilty

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Stone County jury found a Monett man not guilty in connection with an alleged assault of a Barry County deputy.

Brian Akins, 35, was set free last week following the conclusion of a four-day jury trial in Stone County Circuit Court in Galena. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning with a verdict of not guilty on the charge of first degree assault of a law enforcement officer.

Akins was accused of running over Deputy Jeff Younger with a van in front of the Barry County Judicial Center in Cassville on Dec. 30, 2004.

Court records allege that Akins was wanted on an outstanding warrant when he was sighted, sitting in a van outside the courts building, by deputies. When officers approached the van, Akins allegedly put the van in reverse and hit Younger, forcing him under the van.

Narcotics Officer Adam Crouch then fired at Akins and hit him once in the chest and once in the groin area. According to Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, a total of nine shots were fired by Crouch and Younger.

Both Younger and Akins were airlifted to separate Springfield hospitals and treated for their injuries.

Akins was represented at trial by Rita Sanders and Penny Speake, of Springfield. According to Sanders, the trial included the testimony of 28 witnesses and 80-plus exhibits.

"The jury spoke through their verdict, and I will abide by it," said Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox.

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