Kristen Ellis Hilbrenner

LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Mo.- A year-end report was issued by the Lafayette County Prosecutor, Kristen Ellis Hilbrenner, highlighting activity in the prosecutor’s office for 2017.

According to the report, the number of cases filed increased over 25%, from 1,256 in 2016 to 1,681 in 2017. This number includes both felony and misdemeanor cases. There were a total of 130 Grand Jury indictments last year compared to 94 in 2016. In 2017, 315 defendants were sent to the Department of Corrections.

The report also indicates shifting trends in criminal behavior in Lafayette county. Burglary and stealing related offenses were down almost 20% as were assaults on law enforcement officers and resisting arrest charges. Distribution of controlled substance charges were cut in half last year and Hilbrenner believes the decrease in these numbers is due, in part, to the harsh sentences offenders receive if they are prosecuted for this type of offense in Lafayette County. The staggering shift was the 25% increase in possession of controlled substance charges for personal use.

The year-end review also shows the increased efforts at restitution collection which continues to produce significant results. The prosecutor’s office collected just under $164,000 for victims of crime in 2017 and collected an additional $28,458.55 through its bad check collection program. Since taking office, Hilbrenner has made pursuing reimbursements for victims a priority.

Due to the majority of the cases filed last year being drug-related offenses, for first-time offenders, Hilbrenner stresses the importance of treatment for drug or alcohol abuse in the report, hoping to address the issues that have caused the underlying criminal behavior in order to prevent repeat offenders.

“We are very fortunate to have a STOP Drug Court program in Lafayette County in addition to more traditional probation and supervision programs. This court program offers intense supervision of offenders to give them the tools to stay clean and become productive members of society, yet still allows us to send offenders to prison if they do not complete the program as ordered,” Hilbrenner says.

Some of the major sentences handed down in 2017 include: Harold Vaneaton, 30 years for sodomy in the first-degree, 20 years for attempted rape, seven years for statutory rape in the second-degree and 10 years for stealing; Terry Ashley, 20 years for statutory sodomy; Sean Knox, 17 years for rape; Nathan Haynes, 18 years for domestic assault and seven years for endangering the welfare of a child; Patrick Haynes, 15 years for domestic assault; Andrew Duncan, 15 years for possession of child pornography (video), seven years for possession of child pornography (still image) and seven years for possession of a controlled substance; Deontrey Jones, 10 years for assault on a law enforcement officer, seven years for receiving stolen property, four years for unlawful use of a weapon and one year for resisting arrest; Martin Gatlin, Valeria George, and Cameron Ogle all received 15 years for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, Deliver or Sell.