Search warrants served on Purdy trucking company

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A joint investigation by the Greene County Sheriff's Department, assisted by the Barry County Sheriff's Department, led to the arrest of a man charged in a 2011 homicide on unrelated charges in Monett.

According to Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox, Robert L. Campbell, 69, of Purdy, formerly of Willard, was arrested on Oct. 16 at the Monett Lowe's store after a team of officers from Greene and Barry counties executed a search warrant on a Purdy home where Campbell was living.

Campbell's family operates 3T Trucking out of Purdy. Cox said the warrant sought financial records of the company.

Campbell was at home when the warrant was served, then left in a semi tractor unit, against the wishes of officers. A subsequent search turned up Campbell at the Lowe's store in Monett, where he was stopped pulling a trailer with the semi tractor.

Vehicles from the Greene County and Barry County Sheriffs' Departments were seen in Purdy on Oct. 16 participating in the execution of a search warrant in a probe of operations involving 3T Trucking in Purdy. Stolen property found resulted in the arrest of Robert Campbell, who is awaiting trial on first degree murder charges for the 2011 killing of Rebecca and Rusty Porter, of Willard, an unrelated case. Freeze Frame Photography photo

"The semi tractor came back as stolen," Cox reported. "It had an altered VIN number and a photo of a different license plate placed under the plate cover."

Campbell was arrested on Class C felonies of possession of stolen property and possession of equipment with an altered or covered VIN number. He is being held at the Barry County jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.

"This is part of a wider investigation into people connected to Campbell," Cox said. "The investigation was not connected to the homicide case in Taney County.

Campbell is facing two counts of first degree murder for the deaths of Rebecca and Russell Porter, of Willard, who disappeared from their home on April 19, 2011 and were subsequently found in July 2011 near Protem. Campbell has been scheduled for a jury trial in the homicide on Oct. 16, 2014, before Judge Mark Orr in Taney County. Campbell's attorney is Robert Lewis, of Springfield.

Rebecca Porter is the sister of Monett contractor Jim Hufft.

Also awaiting trial in the Porter homicides are the alleged gunman, Tony Friend, 45, of Springfield, and his wife, Windy Dawn Friend, 32. Both face two counts each of first-degree murder, Tony Friend also faces two counts of armed criminal action and felonious restraint.

Tony Friend's son, Phillip Lee Friend, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of felonious restraint on May 16. He was sentenced to seven years in prison on each of the felonious restraint charges, to run concurrently. Sentence has not yet been given on the second-degree murder plea. Phillip Friend's attorney is Clate Baker, of Springfield.

The murder trial for Tony Friend is scheduled to begin on Oct. 13 in Taney County. He is represented by Thomas Jacquinot, a public defender from Kansas City. Windy Friend is scheduled for trial on March 24, 2014.

Dusty Hicks, 26, of Walnut Grove, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and felonious restraint. He is scheduled for a jury trial on May 9, 2014, before Judge Orr. Hicks is represented by public defender Timothy Finnical, of Forsyth.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: